Jesus Calls Us To Obey
Eternal One, I am eager to meet You, or be met by You. Out of Your grace, come to me.
Read Mark 1:40–45
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.
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way / To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey” (John H. Sammis, 1846–1919).
This reading is not altogether comfortable. Jesus reacts to the man with leprosy in seemingly funny ways. The disease ostracizes the man from society, so it seems odd that Jesus should be angry with him, as is indicated in some texts. Some people say that Jesus was angry with the disease, not the man, but this does not explain why, after healing the man, Jesus (literally translated from the Greek) “snorted at him [and] immediately cast him out” (43) before instructing him to tell no one and to show himself to the priest.
Why should Jesus react like that? Central to his own understanding of the call of God on our lives is that we love God and love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:28–34). How then can Jesus treat the man like this? Mark does not say directly but he provides some details.
The way the man approaches Jesus is interesting. He begs him and kneels before him. However, his words are ambiguous—“If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Does he think Jesus might not want to? Is he goading Jesus? What lies behind those words? Mark makes this clearer in the man’s response to Jesus’ command. Rather than telling no one, he tells everyone. Rather than going to the priest, he goes around the area. Whatever his motives, he did not do as commanded, but he did his own thing.
This man is no Peter’s mother-in-law. He has a heart of hope and excitement but he makes his own way rather than walking in that of Jesus. Jesus knew this, which could be the source of his being “indignant” (41). “As a result” of the man not obeying Jesus’ command to stay quiet, “Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places” (45).
Where do you need the special touch of Jesus at this time? How can you touch the “lepers” in your world?
Lord, shape my conscience so it reminds me of Your calling on my life. Help me to listen to Your word and to obey Your commands.