Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jesus Heals The Leper

Scripture Mark 1:39-45
[39] And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
[40] And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean."
[41] Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean."
[42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
[43] And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once,
[44] and said to him, "See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people."
[45] But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

Would you expect to see a leper in a village in ancient Israel?
No, because they were social outcasts.
They were exiled and could not go to the Temple.
Lepers are supposed to stay away from crowds and cry out unclean and make themselves distant so they don’t infect anybody else with their disease.

The fact that this leper is with Jesus is a surprise.
Word gets out that Jesus is near.
The leper may have known of what Elisha did – how this prophet healed the servant Naaman who had  leprosy. (2 Kings 5)

One of the most surprising scenes in this story is where Jesus reaching out to touch the leper.
For a Jew, to touch a leper would mean you would be made unclean.
When somebody who is unclean touches somebody who is clean, the clean person in turn becomes unclean ritually speaking.

Now we see something different at work.
A dramatic reversal occurs here with Jesus.
When the leper touches Jesus they become clean.

Something very important is going on in the second part of this story as well.
There is a second reversal in this story

Jesus wanted this healing to be kept quiet but what is the result of people hearing about the healing of the leper?
Jesus and the leper have traded places.

The leper was the outcast. He couldn’t go into the village.
He was the one who couldn’t associate with people.
He was on the outside in the margins, exiled.
Now the exile encounters Christ.
Now Christ becomes the one exiled.
He becomes the outcast and the leper becomes the one who can enter the village.
Jesus has taken his place.

Mark tells us that Jesus wants to take our place.
He wants to take our shame, our pain , our sin and bring us back into community.
To restore us back to the Father.

Source: Tim Gray – audio Bible Study – The Gospel of Mark

No comments:

Post a Comment