Mark 1:40-45 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. (41) And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. (42) And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. (43) And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; (44) And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. (45) But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
Our text today, like the last few days, is focused on Jesus miraculously healing those that are sick; this time someone stricken of leprosy. Leprosy was such a terrible disease because it was painful and very contagious and those stricken with it were cast out of their communities and banded together in small groups for support. More often than not leprosy was a painfully terminal illness.
This particular man had apparently seen Jesus healing many other people and was convinced that Jesus would be able to wipe out this dreaded disease. In vrs 41 we find that Jesus was “moved with compassion” for him and healed him by touching him and speaking the simple command “Be Thou Clean”. The next statement is crucial to separating Jesus from our modern day pretenders. The Bible says that IMMEDIATELY the disease left him. There was no need for further treatments. There was no need for time to pass to allow for the miracle to take effect. The miracle took effect right there in front of them so it was provable to all those around. It was miraculous and immediate and provable. That should be clue for us to compare to those that claim they can perform miracles today.
The part of this passage that I want to focus on today is vrs 44. So many religious leaders today seem to behave like they are above the the rules and restrictions of others; whether biblically or civilly. But Jesus, even though he was the Son of God and and God himself (John 1:1-3), he understood that he still was bound by certain regulations. According to the law of Moses, the civil and religious law that Jesus lived under had certain requirements as it pertains to leprosy. When someone was suspected to have contracted leprosy, they were required to have it verified by the priests (Leviticus 13:9). There was not governmental agency like we think of in our society, so the priests had that responsibility. Once the person was affirmatively diagnosed, he was cast out of society. And when he confronted someone in public, the had to yell out ”Unclean, Unclean”! If on the rare chance that a person recovered from this disease, they had to go back to the priests, and only through them, could it be verified and allow them to return to society (Leviticus 14:1-9).
In vrs 44 Jesus tells the man to go and show himself to the priests and to perform the sacrifices that the law required. Why did Jesus require this man to do this? Jesus was certainly more knowledgeable than the priests were. He knew that this man was clean far better than the priests could. Simply, because Jesus knew his place and knew that the Law of Moses did not give him the authority to perform that act. And so he followed the law that he was under!
Being a Christian, according to the Bible, gives us FREEDOM! (Rom 6:18) That freedom is a NOT a freedom to make our own rules. That freedom is a freedom FROM sin NOT a freedom to pick and choose which rules, laws and commandments that we choose to follow.
Jesus knew his Place...Do We?
Reflecting His SON,
Minister, North Hardin Church of Christ
1804 Sam Stewart Dr.
Radcliff, KY 40160
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