Moved with pity, Jesus touched and cleansed a leper who lived on the fringes of society. With the needs around us, we must be willing to place ourselves into messy situations in order to see redemption in others.
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 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.” 45 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.
The Approach (Mark 1:40)
- Leprosy is a vivid illustration of what sin does to us: it distances religious life (Lev. 13:1-3), it goes deeper than the surface (Lev. 13:3), it spreads relentlessly (Lev. 13:5-8), it makes one unclean (Lev. 13:44-45), it isolates from community (Lev. 13:46), and it deserves the fire (Lev. 13:52).
- The leper’s desperation to reach Jesus caused him to neglect customary procedures.
- Never question if Jesus can do it but only if He will do it.
The Cleansing (Mark 1:41-44)
- Jesus’ compassion has Him embracing our mess before cleansing our mess.
- Jesus never wanted to gather followers who merely sought temporal miracles.
- While Jesus didn’t condemn the leper’s disobedience before his cleansing, He did urge his obedience after his cleansing.
The Switch (Mark 1:45)
- People who have been changed by Jesus cannot keep it to themselves.
- We shouldn’t be fearful to get into another’s mess because Jesus was willing to get into our mess.
- In restoring a place for the leper, Jesus actually took the place of the leper.
- Our reconciliation is dependent upon Jesus’ condemnation.