In Today's Scripture Reading:
Ministry of John the Baptist; baptism and temptation of Jesus; His Galilean ministry; twelve apostles chosen; the unpardonable sin
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, in the midst whereof I dwell (Numbers 5:2-3). No disease occupies so much space in the Scriptures as leprosy. Strangely, it first appears as just a white, then pink spot. As leprosy slowly progresses, it becomes loathsome, and often fatal in its effects. It illustrates how insignificant sin may seem at first, but, if continued, its consequences are devasting.
A leper eventually loses sensitivity to pain. Still worse, as leprosy progresses, fingers and toes decay and fall off. For centuries, lepers were incurable — they were considered the untouchables of society.
One of these pitiful outcasts boldly made his way to Jesus — beseeching (begging) Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean (Mark 1:40). When the leper said: If Thou wilt, he had no doubt Jesus could heal him. But he doubted His willingness to do so since leprosy was much worse than just a hopeless disease, it made him ceremonially unclean. It was not "Could He?" but "Would He?" Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be . . . clean (1:41).
Matthew records that this leper worshipped Him (Matthew 8:2), and Luke said that he fell on his face before Him (Luke 5:12). Only Mark tells us that Jesus was moved with compassion and that His loving hand reached out to this defiled leper and touched him. Jesus was moved with compassion, one of the deepest of human emotions and a true expression of the loving heart of Jesus. Jesus' touch expressed compassion, expressed through His Word: Be . . . clean (Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13). Today Jesus says: Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you (John 15:3). Faith in God comes through hearing His Word (Romans 10:17). Once saved, like the cleansed leper who began to publish it much (Mark 1:45), you too will want to tell others what Jesus has done for you.
As we observe sinners all about us and see how sin is destroying the spiritual lives of people, it is important to also remember that the Lord is . . . longsuffering . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).
1:7 latchet =b> leather strap similar to a shoelace; 1:26 torn him =b> thrown him into convulsions; 1:43 straitly charged =b> sternly warned; 1:45 blaze =b> to make known; 1:45 quarter =b> a region; 2:1 noised =b> reported.
For Mark 1:2: See Malachi 3:1. Mark 1:3: See Isaiah 40:3.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Government Officials: Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA) and Rep. Ted Poe (TX) • Country: Malaysia (22.7 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Malay and English • All Christian witness to Muslims is illegal • 58% Muslim; 23% Buddhist/Taoist/Chinese; 8% Christian; 6% Hindu; 5% Sikh/Animist/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to reveal His perfect will for you (Psalm 25:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:6