Going beyond duty
Father, teach me of Your goodness, so that I can trust that Your intention and Your ways are always right.
Read Mark 1:40-45
 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.  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.”  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. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow did Jesus respond to the man?
I reckon ritual uncleanness must have been a nuisance for Jesus and his contemporaries who lived in a world without indoor plumbing or easily obtained water. Jesus was criticized for not washing properly (Mark 7:3–5) and a close reading of the book of Leviticus (particularly chapters 11–15) tells us that people who were ritually unclean (and those that touched them) had to stay away from human society for varying lengths of time and engage in ritual cleansing. So you have to wonder why Jesus touches this ritually unclean man. Presumably he could have just said something that would have cured him. But when Jesus sees this man, who has been deprived of human touch, his compassion overrides any concerns about the fuss and bother caused by their physical contact, and he heals him by touching him. He puts himself out, and I suspect would do the same again, despite the stated and unstated disruptions to his ministry (45) that the man’s healing caused. The Hebrew word we translate as “compassion” describes the intense physical and emotional connection (sometimes painful) between a nursing mother and her baby. That’s an attribute of God (Exodus 34:6) and an attribute we’re called on to emulate (1 Peter 3:8), which should override any inconvenience or bother.
Who might Jesus be asking you to show compassion to today? Take a tangible step to do so.
Lord, I am so deeply loved by You and from that love, I can give of myself.
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