⁴⁰And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
⁴¹Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
⁴²Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
⁴³And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, ⁴⁴and He said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
⁴⁵But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
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This leper has a lot of guts. According to Leviticus, he should keep his distance and call out “Unclean, unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45, 46). He lived socially and spiritually isolated.
In the Old Testament days people saw leprosy as a punishment for sin. People who had leprosy were seen as being struck by God (Cf. 2 Chron. 26:16-21). Therefore, until now, no one had thought of bringing lepers to Jesus. For who would dare to lift God’s punishment?
But this leper thinks more of Jesus than anyone else. He ignores laws and current standards, and expresses confidence in Jesus (Mark 1:40).
In response to his guts, Jesus also shows daring.
The unclean man touches His heart. And Jesus breaks through his isolation, and touches him with his hand.
But doesn’t this make Him unclean now? No, the opposite happens.
By this voluntary touch, the leprosy is not spread, but taken away!
Jesus is doing something unheard of. By taking away the leprosy Jesus did not only heal the man, but also made the statement that He is able to undo a divine punishment, His divine ancestry is once again underlined. There are no barriers of sickness and death for Him.
The leper must not bear witness to the miracle that happened to him.
Jesus sends him to the priest in accordance with Leviticus. For it was that one who could declare him clean (Leviticus 14:1-32).
Often I see the warning of Jesus to him: to “say nothing, to anyone”, about what happened (Mark 1:44) explained as “to say nothing, until he had been with the priest”, as only with the official evidence of his healing in his hands his healing should have been a real testimony (Mark 1:43,44). I however don’t read that in these words.
We read that inspite of the stern warning, the man makes no bones about it; he tells about Jesus, to whoever wants to hear it!
This enthusiastic action forced Jesus to stay outside the populated areas (Mark 1:45).
▪︎ Was this because of the great rush that would take place,
▪︎ or was it because people thought that Jesus Himself now had become unclean through this touch?
If the latter was the case, then Jesus has exchanged with the leper and was His banishment already a reference to the cursed wood on which He would die on Golgotha.
There He traded with us.
▪︎ He took our sin upon Himself, and we received His grace.
▪︎ He took our guilt, and we were acquitted (Isaiah 53:5,6).
The great influx from Mark 1:45 is already a prelude to the enormous influx that will take place from Acts 2!
▪︎ Ask God to have compassion on anyone who is socially or spiritually isolated.
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