Mark 1:40-45 Jesus Heals a Leper
Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 28, 2012
Mark 1:40-45 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. (41) Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” (42) Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. (43) Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: (44) “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (45) But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.
When I look at this through the eyes of a new believer, I can see why Jesus healed a man with leprosy. Jesus wanted us to understand how deep His love reached.
After Jesus called His first four disciples, all fishermen, He took them to a synagogue. Is there a better place to invite new followers? One detail to keep in mind while studying Jesus’ life is, every action, word, act was meant to teach a lesson. Inside the synagogue Jesus cast an evil spirit out of a man. This showed us evil spirits are already inside churches spreading: “bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” (Ephesians 4:31) Simon invited Jesus to his home. Did Simon invite Jesus to show his hospitality or to see if Jesus would heal his mother-in-law? We may never know. Once she was healed she served Jesus and the others dinner. Why did Jesus take them from the church to Simon’s home? Word spread about Jesus. The whole town gathered, bringing their sick and demon possessed to Jesus. When the day was over, Jesus went to an isolated place to pray. A test was on the horizon which carried one of the most important lessons. Jesus prayed the Spirit was able to prepare those for the message He was about to deliver.
Jesus took the four disciples He called throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. Suddenly His disciples noticed a strange scene. For the first time people were moving away from Jesus. They could see people in the back ground opening up a wide gap. Being fishermen, their first thought was of the Red Sea opening up. But why people? What could this scene in front of Jesus mean? At last the people standing in front of Jesus turned around to see what was happening. Those in front opened a path to Jesus. A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. The disciples watched, waiting to see what Jesus would do, Seconds seems to turn to hours for the man kneeing in front of Jesus. He looked around at the people pushing, fleeing, holding their sleeves in front of their mouths and noses. The poor man felt he would be turned away for interrupting the gathering. He looked from face to face for any trace of support or compassion. He found none. He looked back at Jesus. Those behind Him took a few steps back. Noticing Jesus stood His ground gave the man enough courage to ask; “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” The man knew Jesus was his only hope. He can’t remember how many years passed since the priests visited his home, proclaimed him unclean, sentencing him to a life of poverty, loneliness and depression as he watched his body decay.
The man wondered what was special about Jesus. He looked quite common, but there was something in His eyes that gave the man hope. Knowing the man waited what seemed like an eternity for hope, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” The crowd looked on as the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. No one moved forward as Jesus continued to hold the man. Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
As I new believer I often wondered why Jesus send the man with leprosy to the priests? What were the priests supposed to do for the man? Finally one day I noticed this was to be a public testimony. When we give a public testimony what purpose does it serve? We tell a little story about ourselves. Maybe about how we were born again, what Jesus did for us, how we were saved. Has anyone been saved like this man? For all intents and purposes this man was all but dead to the world that rejected him. When we learn the extent of his testimony, ours may never be the same.
The commotion at the courtyard gate instantly caught the attention of the priests. They stood and watched as a poorly dressed man carrying a cage with two birds approached them. Some ran from the man, while others who knew him ran up asking how he was cured. The joy inside his heart spread through every fiber of his body escaping from his voice. He told everyone who would listen about Jesus and how He healed him. The priests could not help but over hear the praise.
Soon the man was standing in front of them. The once tan tunic was covered in dirt, shredded by years of wear. Loosely stitched mismatched patches were here and there, almost blending in because of the layers of dirt covering them. The ends loose and tattered had been unraveling for years. The once well stitched edge completely gone. It took a moment or two for the stench to reach the noses of the priests. The moment it did, each priest moved their scarf in front of their face. The smell was indescribable. Years or smoke from the lonely fires mixed with perspiration blood and puss from the open sores mixed together in a repugnant odor.
Offering the two birds to the priests the man described how he had been cured of leprosy. The priest stood in shock, thankful their faces were covered. One of them motioned to a servant to retrieve the birds. He turned to the priest next to him asking what the ceremony was for a cleansed leper. No one seemed to know. None of them ever saw a leper cleansed. They could not think of a single recorded instance of a leper being healed. Some of the priests began to point out the man claimed Jesus healed him. Others left the group to locate the scripture describing the ceremony.
A debate broke out. The priests realized if they performed a ceremony for the man, it may be perceived as an announcement, or verification of a prophet. They agreed it would be wise to find out more about this Jesus before publicly endorsing Him.
It didn’t take long for one of the priest to return. He began reciting from memory the ceremony they needed to perform. This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: (Leviticus 14:2) Just then the wind changed, lofting the scent of the man towards the priest. The high priest growing impatient ordered, “get to the point.” The priest who just studied the scriptures looked at the high priest with fear. His hesitation angered the high priest already upset about the whole scene. Demanding an answer he shouted, “tell me now, What is it you fool?” The young priest recited the texts as best he could. “And the priest shall take of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.” (Leviticus 14:14)
A look of horror covered the face of the high priest as he realized the ceremony for a cured leper is the same performed for him when he became high priest.
As a new believer I wonder what the message is. Why did God command the same ceremony for a leper (Leviticus 14:14), and the high priest and his sons?
Then you shall kill the ram, and take of its blood, and put it upon the tip of the ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar all around. (Exodus 29:20)
What is the message? What lesson was God trying to teach? Was this lesson only for the priests in Jesus’ day, or is it also for us?
This entry was posted on October 28, 2012 at 10:04 am and is filed under Gospel Messages Mark. Tagged: begging to be healed, go to the priest and let him examine you, healed of leprosy, knelt in front of Jesus, make me clean, Mark 1:40-45 Jesus Heals a Leper, public testimony. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.