The Gospel of Mark records more miracles of Jesus than any other gospel. In fact, it records more of Jesus’ miracles than it does His messages. But these miracles are not a random collection of stories. They are intentionally written to tell a much larger story. And that story is summed up in Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”.
Everything Mark writes in his Gospel sets out to prove and authenticate Mark 1:1.
In Mark 1:40-45, we find the familiar story of Jesus healing a man with leprosy. There are at least five unusual things in this story…
- The Leper’s Unthinkable Move – By approaching Jesus and walking up to Him the man with leprosy breaks all the rules. He violates the Mosaic Law and does the unthinkable.
- Jesus’ Remarkable Touch – Instead of turning away from the man, Jesus turns to him with compassion and touches him.
- The Leper Is Suddenly & Completely Healed – With the touch of Jesus all the effects of leprosy are immediately reversed. The man is completely healed. Jesus’ touch removed his curse, took away his shame, and erases his defilement.
- The Leper’s Disobedience – Jesus tells him to present himself to the priest as required by the law of Moses. But the healed leper totally disregards what Jesus told him to do.
- Jesus & The Leper Trade Places – The leper, once ostracized and cut off from others and from God is now partying it up with family & friends. And Jesus is now outside in lonely & desolate places unable to freely do what He came to do…that is preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
So, what does this story have to do with us?
Of all pictures God could use to describe our human condition, leprosy is perfect picture. The nature of leprosy with its slow progress, its destructive power, and the ultimate ruin it brings, makes it a powerful symbol of our sin & depravity. In other words, apart from Jesus we are all spiritual lepers!
But through the touch of Jesus, He sets out to heal us of the leprosy of sin. Jesus is not turned off by the ugliness of our lives. He is not turned off by our mess, not turned off by secrets we keep, or struggles we have. He’s not turned off by us one bit…instead He reaches out & touches us through the cross & demonstrates His loves for us!
Isn’t that a beautiful picture of the heart of Gospel? Jesus came to be our substitute. He took upon Himself our sin, our sorrow, & our shame. And in return He gives us His forgiveness, His holiness, & His righteousness. In other words, we trade places with Jesus!
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God doesn’t measure us by what do or don’t do. He measures us by what Jesus has done for us. In fact, there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you’ve ever done to make God love you less.
All we can do is come to Him and acknowledge we are sinners in need of His grace and trust Him for the cleansing only He can give!