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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - June 28, 2008

  • 2008 Jun 28
  • COMMENTS
 

Finding Jesus as a Refuge for the Unclean

Today we are continuing to learn of Christ as a refuge for all who are stained by sin. The Scripture we are considering is Mark 1:40-45, a beautiful record of a leprous man finding refuge in the cleansing power of the Savior.

The Leper had to respond with OBEDIENCE (v. 8-9). Jesus cleanses completely.

Leviticus 14:8-9 He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. 9 But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows—all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

This washing is a picture of the believer cleansing himself from filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1). After we have been saved, it is our responsibility to keep our lives blameless and holy for His sake.  Perhaps Paul had Leviticus 14 in mind when he compared the new life in Christ to a change of clothes (Col. 3:1–14).

 The Leper is given Consecration to Newness of Life (vv. 10, 14–17). Jesus offers us a new beginning once and for all and every new day!

Leviticus 14:10, 14-17  “And on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and one log of oil.  14 The priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear [a picture of hearing God's Word] of him who is to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand [a picture of doing God's Work], and on the big toe of his right foot [a picture of walking God's Way]. 15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand [note that the oil (emblem of the Holy Spirit) comes after the blood (emblem of salvation]. 16 Then the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle some of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 And of the rest of the oil in his hand, the priest shall put some on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the trespass offering.

It’s now the eighth day since the priest first visited the leper, and eight is the number of the new beginning.  This is a touching part of the ritual. The priest took the blood and applied it to the right ear, the right thumb, and the right great toe of the man, symbolizing that his whole body had now been purchased and belonged to God. He was to listen to God’s Word, work for God’s glory, and walk in God’s ways. Then the priest put the oil on the blood, symbolizing the power of the Spirit of God for the doing of God’s will.

The blood could not be put on the oil; the oil had to be put on the blood. For where the blood has been applied, the Spirit of God can work. The rest of the oil was poured on the man’s head, and thus, he was anointed for his new life. If you will read Lev. 8:22–24, you will see that a similar ceremony was performed for the consecration of the priests. In other words, God treated the leper as he would a priest.

Look again at Mark 1, and note the incredible details of Christ's cleansing of this man.

The lepers, or the walking dead, were so feared that they were driven to live outside of civilization. No family would be allowed to stay in touch with their loved one once that oozing, green sore was detected. With pitiful wails like a funeral, the dirge of the farewell to the precious husband, father, son, daughter, mother, grandfather, or grand mother would swell from the tear filled faces of the ones never to see their loved one again. Off went the walking dead leper to the dark, pain-filled world of exclusion, hatred, bitterness, and loneliness. Marked for life as a communicable bearer of the most dreaded, incurable blights ever known. Doomed to be treated like an enemy for the rest of your life. Welcome to the Leper's World, the World of the Walking dead.

But then came Jesus. Mark used his favorite word in our passage we will read this morning. When the untouchable is touched by Jesus, note (v. 42), “Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”

Coming by Seeking

“The sinner is in a plight more miserable than the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus, “beseeching him and kneeling down to him.” Let him exercise what little faith he has, even though it should go no further than “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”; and there need be no doubt as to the result of the application.

Jesus heals all who come, and casts out none.

Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the house, but Jesus so far from chiding him broke through the law himself in order to meet him. He made an interchange with the leper, for while he cleansed him, he contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement. Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in himself he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, he looks, he touches us, we live.” [3]

This man knew that Jesus was able to heal him, but he was not sure the Master was willing to heal him. Lost sinners today have the same unnecessary concern, for God has made it abundantly clear that He is not willing that sinners perish (2 Peter 3:9) and that He is willing that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2:4).  Anyone who has never trusted the Savior is spiritually in worse shape than this man was physically.

When Jesus touched the leper, He contracted the leper’s defilement; but He also conveyed His health! Is this not what He did for us on the cross when He was made sin for us? (2 Cor. 5:21) The leper did not question His ability to heal; he only wondered if He were willing. Certainly God is willing to save! He is “God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:3–4). God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9).

With that touch Jesus answered for all time the doubts of those who wonder if God really cares. Jesus not only met the physical need. He understood the loneliness this man must have experienced, and with His touch dealt directly with that inner pain. If you’ve ever been lonely, ever felt rejected or unloved, you know what that touch must have meant. Jesus’ touch was not needed to heal the leprosy, but it was necessary to meet this man’s deep, inner need for love. Jesus touched him. As He yearns to touch all. The healing of Christ in salvation from sin is instantaneous and complete (“the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin).”  

Imagine what happened to that leper who was touched by Jesus. His feet—toeless, ulcerated stubs—were suddenly whole, bursting his shrunken sandals.

The knobs on his hands grew fingers before his very eyes. Back came his hair, eyebrows, eyelashes. Under his hair were ears and before him a nose! His skin was supple and soft.

Today if in your sin you are fleeing—flee to Jesus, the safest and nearest refuge for the unclean.

To rest any troubled minds who may fear that they have somehow committed this sin which can never be forgiven – on the basis of Christ's words in Mark 3.28. Rest your finger there on those words, allow your eyes to follow along – hear the voice of Jesus speaking. Let Him assure you today!

  • The unpardonable sin is not taking God the Father, God the Son or even God the Holy Spirit’s Name in vain. “Assuredly I say to you – all sins will be forgive”
  • The unpardonable sin is not any form of sexual sin – no matter how vile – not adultery, not perversion. “Assuredly I say to you – all sins will be forgiven”
  • The unpardonable sin is not any form of murder, even the most heinous forms. “Assuredly I say to you – all sins will be forgiven”

Jesus always offered only one way out of sin. Sorrowful admission of guilt, and humble requests for mercy. Confession and forgiveness. Belief and repentance.

If you realize that the leprosy of sin has infected your person, then you have no doubt that you are a sinner. If you believe that, there is no reason why you should not go immediately to Him. He has compassion, He will actually touch the leprosy of your sin, and you will be immediately healed! Have you humbled yourself to say, “I know You are willing, make me clean”? If not yet, why not do it now?

 

 

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