Today, Father, surround me, search me, and immerse me in Your will. I wait quietly before You now.
Read Mark 1:40-45
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The re-creative power to bring soundness of mind, to return body systems to normalcy, and to heal tissues and cells, was channeled through (Christ)” (Lloyd John Ogilvie).
This story comes as the climax of a series of healing stories that show Jesus’ authority and compassion. “If you are willing, you can …” (40) neatly expresses the authority Jesus was perceived to exercise, while reaching out his hand and touching the man with leprosy showed his compassion more eloquently than a thousand words. The story also introduces the Jewish authorities who will engage Jesus in controversy in the stories that follow, but in such a way as to show that this opposition was not of Jesus’ making.
Yet, the story is puzzling. Why is Jesus apparently so angry? Some ancient manuscripts actually say that Jesus was moved with anger rather than compassion (41), but we don’t need to accept that reading to see that Jesus is far from gentle with the man. The words “strong warning” inadequately translate a word expressive of fury, while “sent him away” hardly captures the urgency of the original Greek (43). Then we are told that because of the unwelcome publicity Jesus was unable to enter a town openly but remained out in the desert. Thus, we are surprised to find in the next verse that he is in Capernaum, and he moves freely about the villages for the rest of the Galilean ministry.
Both these difficulties disappear if we suppose this incident took place later in the ministry, and that Mark chose to include it here to add to his picture of Jesus’ authority. John makes clear that before his final Passover Jesus went into hiding at a desert location in the south (John 11:54). A sensational healing at this point would have presented a direct threat to Jesus’ need to remain hidden until his time had come; hence, Jesus’ “strong warning” and the speed with which he gets rid of the man.
Is there some “healing” or other help you need from Jesus today? Bring it to him in prayer now.
Gracious God, You take my brokenness and work in me to make me whole. You take my sinfulness and make me righteous before You.
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