Bible study: Jesus heals a leper


From Mark 1:40-45

40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44 saying 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.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

About the Bible passage:

-       The leper had enough faith in Jesus and had enough courage that he approached Jesus for healing, kneeling to him. It is likely that Jesus was surrounded by a lot of people, who would angrily reject a leper getting close to them. Lepers had to be far from people and ring a bell yelling “impure” when people approached.

-       Jesus could have healed him just be commanding him to be cleaned, but he touched him. No one would have ever touched a leper. This showed both compassion for the untouchable and that Jesus was above the condition that would get him to be sick with leprosy. He Himself gives health.

-       It says that Jesus sternly warned him. The Greek word used here, ἐμβριμησαμενος, was the same used to describe the snorting of a horse, it represented a strong emotion. It is not clear what he was so stern about. It could have been for getting so close to the people before the healing. But it could also have been to emphasize the urgency to go to the priest and have him declared clean according to the law, before those who knew him saw him walking around.

Spiritual lessons:

There are two aspects of the story that move me. Even though God is a just God, he is also a compassionate God. We don’t have to have perfect prayers and a perfect life. Jesus was moved by compassion at seen lepers’ horribly painful and lonely condition. He was also moved by this man’s faith. It is good to be reminded by Jesus’ compassion, but it is also a challenge for us to be more like Jesus. To “love kindness.”

The other moving aspect, which we can apply to our every day life, is to have absolute faith that if it is Jesus’ will, we too can be healed of what afflict us.

-       Alcohol and drugs addiction? Jesus, if you choose, you can make me clean!

-       Sexual addiction? Jesus, if you choose, you can make me clean!

-       Fighting tendencies to steal, cheat, or lie? Jesus, if you choose, you can make me clean!

-       Experiencing sorrow from the unjust and painful treatment of others? Jesus, if you choose, you can make me clean!

-       Dealing with sickness? Jesus, if you choose, you can make me clean!

I do choose. Be made clean!

Image: Jesus healing the leper, by Jean Marie Melchior Doze