Daily D – Mark 1:40-42
Mark 1:40-42 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Mk 1:40–42.
If you had a problem you believed only Jesus could solve, and if that problem was a matter of life and death, and also a matter profoundly affecting all of your relationships and all of your livelihood, would you allow anything to stand between you and Jesus? Probably not.
To gain a full appreciation of what is happening in these three verses and their aftermath, turn to Leviticus 13 and 14 and read some uncomfortable passages regarding skin disease. The long story shortened version is this leper plunged into the buffer zone of Jesus. He was supposed to keep a space of fifty paces away from him.
This leper broke the Jewish law. He broke custom. He didn’t care. Leprosy and other skin diseases were a life sentence to be served outside of towns, away from people, cut off from all forms of decent relationships and employment. For this man, this was a do-or-die moment. He could not have known Jesus well, but if he knew anything about him as recorded in the thirty-nine verses in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, he knew Jesus was a man with healing in his hands.
He broke through the bubble. People scattered to get away from him. The odor of his approach, the shouts of fear and disgust, led him into the immediate, uninterrupted presence of Jesus. Verse 41 begins with three words in English: “Jesus was indignant.”
Jesus did not flee. Jesus did not recoil. Jesus did not lean back or turn away his gaze. “Jesus was indignant.”
Jesus was not angry at the leper. He was angry at what the disease had wrought. He was angry at the crowd’s response. He was angry with his cowardly disciples. He was angry at all the misery the evil one causes and our sinful brokenness displays.
Jesus spoke two words in the Greek text of this verse which is translated here, “I am willing,” and “Be clean.”
Do not move too quickly here. Between Jesus’ indignation and his declaration, there is something powerful, beautiful, wonderful happening to a man who not only longed for health and wholeness, but also longed for physical touch of a compassionate nature.
“He reached out his hand and touched the man.” Jesus’ compassion led him to lean in. Jesus’ love for this broken man consigned to a life sentence of a Zombie-like existence led him to touch the man. Mark then employs one of his favorite words, “Immediately.”
Healed and whole, freed from his death sentence, “he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news,” (verse 45). He could take the veil from his face. He could change his clothes. He could walk along the path with others. He could bump into them without causing a panic. He could go home. He could embrace his family and friends.
Do you have a problem only Jesus can solve? You will only offend him if you refuse to go to him. It is simply amazing how often Jesus responds with compassion when we approach him humbly and say, “If you are willing.” More often than we know, he is willing.
Feel free to blunder into his presence now with whatever is heavy on your heart. He will not recoil. He will not turn away. He will receive you now.
I will run to Jesus when I have a problem only he can solve.
Our Father, thank you for your healing grace. Thank you for having mercy on me, a sinner. Thank you for restoration and renewal. Thank you for receiving all who come to you in faith. Amen.
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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”