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Jesus Touches the Untouchable (Mark 1:40-45)

By Wayne Davies

In Mark 1:40-45 we read the account of Jesus’ miraculous healing of a leper. There is only one hero in the book of Mark, and that would be the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the focus of every passage and so an appropriate question to ask when reading the gospels is always, “What does this passage teach me about Jesus?”

This passage teaches us much about the Son of God.

Jesus loved the leper.

The love that Jesus had for people was God’s love. If you want to know what it means to see people the way God sees people, you would do well to study Jesus closely. The NIV says he was “filled with compassion” (Mark 1:41); the ESV says he was “moved with pity” (ESV).

Jesus touched the leper.

Jesus did much more than feel deep sympathy for the plight of this man. A leper was a social outcast. Viewed as ceremonially unclean, he was excluded from the normal activities of his community. Barred from the synagogue and the temple, he probably spent many years in isolation. And what does Jesus do? “He reached out his hand and touched the man” (Mark 1:42). This simple act would have shocked everyone. Jesus touched the untouchable! And just imagine what this touch did for the leper!

Jesus spoke to the leper.

The compassion of Jesus resulted in action. Jesus’ pity was demonstrated by both the human touch and the spoken word. Again, for this man to receive such genuine affection and personal attention was to break all societal norms. Jesus’ words, “I am willing” (to heal you). Be clean!” (Mark 1:40) were the expression of his heart of compassion. Jesus loved him, touched him and spoke to him here is the perfect example of what it means to meet a need. In Jesus Christ we see the heart, the hand and the mouth all working together to reach out in love.

Jesus warned the leper.

In verse 43 the story takes a surprising turn. After healing him, Jesus gives the man two specific instructions. First, the man is not to tell anyone about this healing. And second, the man is to go to the temple in Jerusalem and “show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded” (Mark 1:44). The second command is easily explained by realizing that Jesus is simply telling the man to do what the Old Testament law prescribed in Leviticus 14:1-32.

But the first command is somewhat more perplexing. Jesus had just performed a wonderful miracle, yet another demonstration of his divine power that authenticated his claim to deity. Why would he prohibit the man from telling people about it? We see this

“keep it quiet” command coming from Jesus throughout the gospels. Jesus proclaimed his deity repeatedly, both in word and deed. And he obviously wanted people to understand who he was and why he came. But at times, the public response was so great and the size of the crowds so large, Jesus was unable to move about freely.

Jesus had to find the proper balance between communicating his message to as many people as possible while avoiding the crush of humanity. And so this command to “not tell” was a practical way for Jesus to maintain order amidst the chaos of the thousands who clamored for his attention.

Mark then tells us that the man does not obey Jesus’ first command, and the consequence is precisely what Jesus was trying to avoid. “Instead he (the leper) went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places” (Mark 1:45).

As we reflect on this incredible display of Jesus’ divine power and common sense, we are once again awestruck by the glory of the one and only Son of God.

Looking for more Bible reading tips?

I’d like you to have Free Instant Access to my eBook “God Wrote The Book: Do You Know How To Read It?”. Simply visit http://www.GodWroteTheBook.com

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Wayne Davies, “The Bible Reading Guy”, is President of Good Messengers Ministries of Fort Wayne.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

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