Messed-up people are Jesus’ specialty. This dude was really messed-up with open, oozing sores and nasty, dirty bandages. Mummies might look more alive.
Mark says he was a leper (Mark 1:40-45). Luke, the physician, diagnosed him as being “full of leprosy” (Luke 5:12, ESV). In laymen’s terms, He was covered with it, from head to tail.
Leprosy, a skin disease, might start with a patch of dry skin like psoriasis. Later, it could cause open and infected sores which progressed finally to an ugly and painful death. It was a dreaded malady!
The Levitical Law (Leviticus 13) called a leper unclean and therefore unfit for community worship. One who came in contact with a leper was also considered unclean. Because it was thought to be highly infectious, those who contracted the nasty stuff were excommunicated from society and forced to live in leper colonies until their death.
Prior to this passage, Mark record this: “When evening came, after the sun had set, they brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town was assembled at the door, and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons” (Mark 1:32-34, CSB).
Apparently, this news made it all the way out to the leper colonies, because our messed-up man hustled off to find Jesus. The leper had only one hope. Doctors couldn’t help. Medicine couldn’t either. But Jesus had healed others, and the leper believed that Jesus could certainly heal him too.
He came to Jesus and fell before him. Oh, what a picture of humility. What a posture of submission. Before the King he knelt and begged, pleaded, implored, “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (Mark 1:40, CSB). No one else. Nothing else. Only Jesus could provide what he longed for most.
“Get away from me, you deformed, grotesque monster!” That might have been a more common response, but Jesus was “moved with compassion!” (Mark 1:41, CSB). He did the unthinkable. Jesus touched him, saying, “Be clean!” That’s all. Jesus’ touch. Jesus’ command. “Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:42, ESV).
Cancer. AIDS. Corona Virus. Jesus is still able. Always able. Once broken and thoroughly messed-up, now clean. Healed. Restored. Completely. He “went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news” (Mark 1:45, ESV). “Hey Jim Bob, Jesus made me whole again!” ... “Hello Sam! That leprosy junk is gone! Jesus did it!” ... “Tony, look at this. Thanks to Jesus, my skin is as soft as a new-born!”
What’s your story? “I was messed-up, dead in my sin and shame, but Jesus forgave me and made me alive and new!” You have a dramatic story... go tell it!
A note from the Blogger:
I started writing this blog on April 1, 2020, shortly after the world shut down and we sheltered in place. Since then, I have written and posted a short blog daily, seven days each week. Though I wonder if life will ever be “normal” again, I do sense things beginning to move in that direction. My life as a pastor is getting busier. Thankfully.
I have enjoyed blogging. It’s been a gratifying spiritual exercise during this season. As the Lord leads, I plan to continue blogging, but beginning this week, I will post only Monday through Friday.
Thanks for your expressions of encouragement. I pray that you would fall more deeply in love with Jesus and His Word as you read each day’s offering.
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor