The Unclean Become Clean
Tuesday morning, one of my Southern Bible Institute & College students from last semester came in late to chapel. He has to take a bus from way east of Dallas and then walk a mile or so from the station to get to class. Both the passengers on the bus and the students sitting in chapel stayed far away from him. He’s a big guy, so it took a big surgical mask to cover his face.
With the virulent flu still going around, he was trying to protect us, and as I watched everyone trying to steer clear of him, I was reminded of how folks in biblical times shunned a person with an infectious disease, especially skin maladies. Leviticus tells us that they had to shout out “Unclean! Unclean!” Then everyone stayed away. So when a man with a serious skin infection crashed one of Jesus’ teaching sessions and knelt down in front of him, everyone waited to see how Jesus would react.
“So Jesus went about preaching in their synagogues throughout Galilee and casting out demons. And a man with a serious skin disease came to him crying out and kneeling before him, he said to Jesus, ‘If you’re willing, you’re able to make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I am willing. Be clean!’ Immediately the serious skin disease left him, and he was clean.
Then Jesus warned him strongly and sent him on his way, ‘Don’t say anything to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest as Moses instructed so that your cleansing can be verified, and the healing will be a witness to them.’ But going out, he began to freely tell what had happened and the word spread. It spread so strongly that Jesus was no longer able to openly go into a city. He had to stay outside in the less populated areas. But people were coming to him from every direction.” Mark 1:39-45
When you’re the ultimate healer, you’re not afraid to reach out and touch someone who is infectious and unclean. I’m so thankful that Jesus doesn’t shrink back from reaching out and touching us. He’s close when we’re sick but Mark is going to make a big point that Jesus can not only heal the ritual uncleanness of disease, he can also heal the far more serious uncleanness of sin. And notice that Jesus doesn’t need any advance specialists priming the crowds for his healing meetings. He was the real thing, and when you’re the real thing, even if you’re out in the desert, the crowds come to check it out.
LORD, thanks for your power over disease and that in your earthly ministry you healed right in the flow of your ministry without any big build-ups or emotional hype.
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