Mark 1 -- 3
There is no disease that occupies so much space in the Scriptures as leprosy because it illustrates how insignificant a sin may first appear; but, as it slowly progresses, how dreadful, loathsome, and fatal its effects are. Jesus healed many victims of fever, palsy, and withered limbs; He restored speech, hearing, and sight; and He cast out many demons. But the most touching of all of His miracles was the healing of a leper. No disease was known to be more incurable and loathsome, nor so dreaded as leprosy. Lepers were the untouchables.
A leper loses the ability to feel pain because of infected nerves. The leprous body can be burned, cut, or broken without the individual realizing it, as it is left without its natural protection against self-destruction. Still worse, as leprosy progresses, fingers fall off, arms, toes, and legs drop away.
God had directed Moses to command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper . . . that they defile not their camps, where I dwell (Numbers 5:2-3). One of these pitiful outcasts of society boldly made his way to Jesus -- beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If You will, You can make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and said unto him, I will; be clean (Mark 1:40-41). Matthew records that this leper worshiped Him (Matthew 8:2), and Luke reveals that he fell on his face before Him (Luke 5:12). Of all the Gospel writers, only Mark tells us that Jesus was moved with compassion and His loving hand reached out to the defiled flesh of this leper and touched him. Jesus was moved with compassion, the deepest of all human emotions and the truest expression of the perfect heart of Jesus for all mankind.
But compassion was not enough. Jesus reached out and touched the leper; it was so much more than just a touch, as marvelous as that was, for this man had not been touched by loved ones or friends for a long time; all had stayed at a distance. He was a lonely, defiled outcast. Although Jesus' touch expressed compassion, the true power was in His Word: Be clean (Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13). Faith in God comes from His Word. Once saved, like the cleansed leper who began to publish it much (Mark 1:45), you too will express your deep gratitude for what Jesus has done for you.
When the leper said: If You will, You can make me clean (1:40), he had no doubt that Jesus could heal him, but doubted His willingness since leprosy was much more than a hopeless disease; he was defiled. It was not "could He," but "would He." Although everyone thought he was beyond help, this outcast was not ashamed to humbly seek Jesus. Like the leper, most of us have no doubt about the almighty power of Jesus to save and to heal. There is no doubt He has met others' needs, but we wonder if He will meet our need. Many know who, or what, will do them good, but they are too proud to ask or acknowledge their need. We too must come in humility, knowing that we are unworthy, unclean and a defiled sinner.
I perceive (believe) that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
For Mark 1:2: See Mal. 3:1. Mark 1:3: See Isa. 40:3.
BPM Staff: Mark Ketterer · Pray for Alexander Botanov, Russian translator · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Helen M. Prater · Country: El Salvador (5 million) in Central America · Major language: Spanish · Some intolerance of Protestants by government officials · 96% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray with unwavering faith so that your prayers may be answered (James 1:5-7).
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