40 A man who had a skin disease came to Jesus. On his knees he begged Jesus. He said, “If you are willing to make me ‘clean,’ you can do it.” 41 Jesus became angry. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing to do it,” Jesus said. “Be ‘clean’!” 42 Right away the disease left the man, and he was “clean.” 43 Jesus sent him away at once. He gave the man a strong warning. 44 “Don’t tell this to anyone,” he said. “Go and show yourself to the priest. Offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded. It will be a witness to the priest and the people that you are ‘clean.’ ” 45 But the man went out and started talking right away. He spread the news to everyone. So Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. He stayed outside in lonely places. But people still came to him from everywhere.
The leprous man came to Jesus begging for healing. The picture Mark paints is one of desperation.
At the same time this was an audacious request. Jews believed that only God could heal leprosy (see 2 Kings 5:1-14), so this request reflected the man’s understanding that Jesus had the power of God. The effect of his spreading the word of his healing was to put Jesus on a collision course with the religious leaders.
We know Jesus is more than another Elisha. He is God! This story is such an amazing revelation of the beautiful compassionate heart of God, that Jesus would reach out and touch the unclean man, when he need only have said the word and he would be healed. I wonder at the power of the healing he experienced – not just physical but psychological, touched after how long of being shunned by everyone.
Just as it was for the leprous man, Jesus’ heart is overflowing for me to be whole. The seen and unseen hurt or illness healed, life transformed.
“Jesus if you are willing, make me whole”. Transform my attitudes, my future, my guilt, my loneliness, my finances, my ill health.
Dear Jesus, I’m desperate for you. Your love overflows and cleanses me like it did for the man with leprosy. Your heart is full of compassion for me when I don’t deserve it. There aren’t enough words to thank you. Amen
Written to Claire Moore