Bible story of the week: Mark 1:38-45
I’m adding a new feature to Deep Thoughts called “Bible story of the week.” Hopefully, I’ll be able to post one a week. I’ve asked my good friend Regina Manley to do the first one. Notice the words in bold. Those are the questions Regina would like for you to reflect/comment on—-Aaron
By Regina Manley
Near the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he tells his disciples that he wants to visit the villages of Galilee and preach the Gospel stating, “That is why I have come.” (See Mark 1:38). After preaching in some synagogues and casting out demons, a leper meets Jesus along the way. The leper kneels right at Jesus’ feet begging for healing saying, “If you are willing, you can make me clean!” Jesus not only heals the man, but first he does the unthinkable. The next verse says, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and TOUCHED THE MAN. ‘I am willing!’ he said. ‘Be clean.’” The leper is immediately healed.
Then comes the another surprise, verses 43 and 44: “Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning; ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
This man had other plans, though, verse 45: “Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”
Jesus’ compassionate touch breaks centuries of “proper Jewish protocol” toward lepers who, as outcasts were commanded to wear torn clothing and shout “Unclean!” lest anyone be made unclean by actually touching them. Are followers of Jesus still shocking the world today with out- of- the- box responses of love? I’d love to hear your first-hand (or second-hand 😉 accounts.
And what do you think about that STRONG warning NOT TO TELL anyone but the priest? Wouldn’t that be hard not to tell anyone? Why do you think it was so important to Jesus that the priest should be the first to hear about this miracle?
In the end, the leper, who was isolated from society, had the freedom to go anywhere, whereas Jesus was limited to the “lonely places.” Have you experienced Jesus trading places with you? If so, let’s find ways to step up to his example of radical love.