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Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction. (Mark 1:40-45 NKJV)
Do you find it interesting that Jesus “strictly warned” the leper and told him “see that you say nothing to anyone”? I have always found that curious, havent you? Why would Christ not want someone telling others about Him?
Lets break this down a bit starting with verse 42. In verses 42 through 44 Jesus heals the leper but then tells him to tell no one. Jesus then further instructs the leper to obey the Law given through Moses. Interesting, yes? Jesus simply asked the leper to obey the Law that had already been given to him. Which, by the way, was a lengthy ritual that took eight days (Leviticus 14:1-32).
Then in verse 45, “However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely…” The leper blatantly disobeyed Jesus and it is here that I think I find the answers to my initial questions. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t want the leper telling others about Him, He just wanted the leper to have a life of obedience that reflected the work that Christ had already done and would do for him.
I don’t know for sure, but I’d like to think that the leper probably had good intention when he decided to “proclaim it freely.” Or maybe he was just trying to avoid the eight day ritual required by the Law before he was considered clean. Like I said, I don’t know for sure, but even if we give the leper the benefit of the doubt, his best intention still didn’t add up to obedience. The lepers disobedience was not Jesus’ plan and because of the disobedience Jesus could no longer move freely within the city.
That said, despite the disobedience of the leper, Jesus was still able to continue His mission. In the second half of verse 45 we see that people still came to Jesus even in the the deserted, lonely, uninhabitable places.
I must ask myself, am I like the leper? Am I disobedient? Are my disobedience and my best intentions hindering The Lord from moving freely in my life? Are they affecting my family, my friends, my community?
The answer is yes, becuase, just like the leper whose disobedience affected the whole city, when I disobey my actions have great consequences and these consequences reach beyond just me. I also, must remember that even though the Lord can work and move and complete His mission despite my disobedience, this does not give me a free pass to disobey. God’s best plan for my life involves my obedience and I want His plan.
Lord, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me and revealing a bit of Your truth. Please, reveal to me where I am disobedient. Reveal to me when my actions, even though I may I think I am doing them for You, are in contrast to Your will. Please show me how to obey completely and immediately. In Your name I pray. Amen.
I hope my thoughts help you understand how this scripture can be applied to our modern lives, but don’t just take my word for it. Dive into The Bible yourself, pray, and ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you.
Have a question or a thought? Please feel free to leave a comment.