Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. (ESV) Mark 1:40-45
The leprous man lived with his dreadful appearance, pain, and suffering every day without relief. If this anguish were not enough, lepers were considered unclean according to the law of Moses, making him an outcast to Jewish society, unable to freely socialize with the larger population, and without close friendships. But, having observed Jesus’s ministry from afar, he had faith that Jesus could make him clean. Perhaps he thought, “If Jesus has authority over demons, then he must also have authority over diseases.”
Convinced of Jesus’s power to heal, the leper boldly makes his way to our Lord. Unlike the religious insiders, the leper approaches Jesus with great humility. Desperate for healing, he carefully lowers himself to his knees, causing the puss filled lesions to press painfully into the ground. The man addresses Jesus in a way that states his belief, while unassumingly asking Jesus to make him clean. “If you will, you can make me clean.” he says.
The man shows no sign of entitlement mentality. He had nothing to offer Jesus – no money, status, or the means for hospitality. Any healing he might receive would come by the grace and authority of Jesus alone, not on the basis of his Jewish heritage.
Moved with pity, Jesus ignores the ceremonial laws against touching an unclean leper and physically touches the man’s scarred and broken skin. He speaks openly for him to be clean and the man is immediately cleansed. An outcast no longer, the man is free from pain, suffering, and his scarred appearance.
Jesus is teaching the crowds that he not only has authority over demons, his authority extends to their diseases as well. His powerful rule restores our health and makes us holy before him.
Did you notice that Instead of keeping quiet like Jesus asked, the now healed man cannot stop talking about how Jesus made him clean? He was instantly transformed and was too overcome with emotion to stay silent. Choosing himself to live under God’s Kingdom rule is why Jesus frequently told people to keep quiet about his miraculous ministry. He knew that large crowds would hinder his intentional plan to live the Kingdom life as an example for us to follow.
Jesus did not perform miracles to gain the spotlight, he was only focused on doing right. His miracles selflessly broke the chains of bondage and made clear his deity, power, and authority for generations of future followers. What a Saviour we have!
As with the leprous man, Jesus wants to heal our diseases today. While COVID-19 is a very serious disease, let us acknowledge that as Christ followers: Jesus is our healer. The same authority he exercised over leprosy is available to us today. While we must guard against recklessness and maintain a loving and wise posture toward the health and welfare of our families and all people, let us not drift into the belief that COVID-19 or any disease has authority over King Jesus.
As we engage our friends and neighbors with hospitality and service, might we also boldly pray with them to be healed of their pain, suffering, and disease? In the same way that Jesus revealed his authority by healing disease, he can reveal himself to a hardened neighbor in need of tangible evidence of heaven’s authority to the glory of God.
Let us follow the example of the leprous man today and humbly come to Jesus with our pain, suffering, and disease. Allow him to meet us in our isolation and depression. Ask Jesus to make us clean and trust that he will. Faithfully stand by for his healing touch and be clean to the glory of our King.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord Jesus, I acknowledge your presence in my suffering and pain. You are a friend who is closer than a brother. You are very near, not far. I confess that I hold on to unclean thoughts and habits that need to be cleaned from my life. I have scars that won’t heal on their own and need your tender touch. Jesus, if you will, make me clean today and lead me onto a path of holiness for your name’s sake. Thank you for healing me today. Help me to bring healing to those around me in need of your great love. In Jesus name, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
2 Timothy 1:12
I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.