The unclean evangelist

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Mark 1:40-45

40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus doesn’t heal with a word—He doesn’t heal from a distance—but reaches out and touches the untouchable.

41 Jesus was indignant. (Note: other manuscripts say “filled with compassion”). 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.

43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “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.” 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.

Clearly, Jesus was greatly moved when the leper approached Him. Jesus was moved with emotions of compassion and feeling for his plight, anger at his treatment and his condition, the image of the Father, that had been corrupted, defiled and rejected by this world. I imagine Jesus was moved that He even had to ask, “If you are willing.”

We all come to Jesus as lepers. Defiled by the sin I commit, against God’s righteousness, I look dirty, unclean and my sin is certainly contagious. Yet, Jesus doesn’t heal with a word—He doesn’t heal from a distance—but reaches out and touches the untouchable. This event shows us that:

  1. We must come to Jesus, in a state of humility, ready to change. Often we ask for healing or forgiveness while still clinging on to our disease.
  2. He can and WILL change us and give us new life in Him. We only have to approach and ask. He cares that much that He will be moved to accept us, leprosy and all.
  3. We must share the change we have experienced. Is your car park at church full on a Sabbath? It says that he spoke freely about the healing he’d received and Jesus could no longer enter a town openly because of the press of people. Jesus has transformed and reclaimed your life? You better tell somebody!