Friday

After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 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. (vs. 43-44)

Mark 1:40-45 Friday 19 October 2018

Psalm: Psalm 15

Background

The theme of the readings from Mark’s Gospel this week is “A Kingdom Revealed”, and these verses that tell of the leper who, having been diagnosed with the disease, would have had to separate himself from the community at large and live in total isolation from the towns and villages. He would have had little chance of medical help or even an opportunity to live a full life in the society in which he was born. He was, therefore, considered a totally unclean person at that time and, having heard about Jesus, takes courage and comes kneeling before him to seek healing.

In stretching out his hand to touch the man, Jesus is taking a risk – one of the many alienating risks he is going to take as he goes through his ministry. But with just one touch the man is immediately healed from his leprosy. Jesus, perhaps aware of the danger he has placed himself in by his interaction with this man, tells him “sternly” that he is not to tell anyone what has happened but to go through the right channels to make an offering and demonstrate his healing to the priest. However, this is not to be and the man cannot keep quiet. Instead, he went out telling everyone he met what wonders had happened to him that day, causing Jesus and his friends to move out of the town into the countryside. We are told that even then people came to him from every quarter, seeking his wisdom and his healing.

 

To Ponder

  • Who are considered the ‘lepers’ in our society today, do you think?
  • What reaction is there in a congregation when one such person might come seeking healing or acceptance?
  • What is the risk of taking them into our community, knowing that there are some who might be alienated from us because we have done so?
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