Vol. 2, No. 44 – 10-29-2017
And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean. Mark 1:40
Sometimes it is good for us to contemplate under our Broom Tree as we read the Scriptures. We have journeyed through several verses of the Gospel of Mark over the last many weeks; now it is good for us to go back to some beginning remarks of the gospel writer.
My wife, Donna, and I traveled to the State of Orissa, India in June, 2000. It was not the most pleasant of travels. The flight was long, messy, and crowded. We flew from Chicago, to Amsterdam, to Mumbai (you may know it as Bombay), and then to Calcutta—27-1/2 hours. Then we boarded a train to Berhampur that was supposed to be a four-hour ride—it was eight and one-half hours with no facilities on the train (Donna was not a happy camper). Our trips into the small villages was harsh, dirty, and sad. While we were able to share the gospel and received many responses, we also observed living areas just outside the villages reserved for lepers.
Leprosy is a disease that physically devastates the body, eating away flesh and bone structure. Most experiencing leprosy also succumb to emotional discomfort, even shame. In the OT time, leprosy brought the label of “unclean” upon the bearer of the disease. It was associated with “God abandoning a person.” While that is untrue, the social stigma was such that no one would want to aid another person who had this disease.
Physical pain, mental pain, rejection, and shame caused people to cry out for relief—to be clean once again. Yet to aid, even to accidently touch the leper, brought fear among those not having the disease to worry and fear—afraid of vulnerability, petrified of their own rejection, knowing that they certainly could not be healed.
The response of the leper:
- He came pleading for Jesus to make him clean;
- He readily admitted that he had a significant problem
- He came with bended knee; humbled himself before Christ
- He knew he was dependent on what Jesus might do; sought Jesus’ willingness
- He believed that Jesus could change his life
The response of Jesus:
- Jesus touches him
- Jesus does not shame the leper for his problem
- Jesus understands his problem
- Jesus speaks that the leper’s problem is fully resolved
- Jesus’ power is unmatched; the power of Jesus has not changed; it is the same following his resurrection, it resides in the believer and is at work (Ephesians 1:19-20)
What about you?
- Where do you hurt?
- What makes you ashamed?
- What makes you feel rejected?
- Jesus is fully sufficient and powerful to care for our every condition
- What do you do for the problems of others?
- If you lead or mentor others, how do you really treat them?
And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Mark 1:43