When the man came to Jesus, he was demonstrating great faith.
The story of Jesus healing a leper can be found in Mark 1, verses 40-45. The leper said to Jesus, “if you are willing, you can make me clean.” At this time in history, there were strict rules for lepers. They had to stay away from others, they couldn’t even come around if the wind was blowing, and when others were around, or approaching them they had to shout ‘unclean, unclean’. (See Leviticus 13: 45-46). So, it is highly unusual for a person with leprosy to approach Jesus. To the Jews, leprosy was considered a curse from God due to a sin the person or a parent had committed. Therefore, since leprosy was a curse from God, only God could reverse it. This notion is pretty clear in II Kings 5: 7: “As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robe and said, ‘Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy?…’” When the man came to Jesus, he was demonstrating great faith. Notice he didn’t ask Jesus to intercede on his behalf, nor did he ask Jesus if He was capable of healing him, he said, “if You are willing, you can make me clean.
In verse 41, Jesus reached His hand out and touched the man. I don’t know if we can even imagine how this man must have felt at that time. How long had it been since that man had any human contact? The love and compassion shown by Our Savior would have overwhelmed him. “Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured”. (Mark 1: 42).
Now after Jesus had healed the man, He told the man not to tell anyone about what had happened. NOTE: Jesus did tell the man to go and show the priest. This was out of obedience to the law. (Leviticus 14) It occurs to me that Jesus gave the Jewish authority every opportunity to see just who He was. Remember it was these Jews who believed only God could cure leprosy. It’s hard to understand how these leaders could be so blind. It makes me wonder if there are people like that today. Now the man did not obey Jesus’ words, instead, the man went out and “talked freely, spreading the news.” In my Bible, it says Jesus gave him a “strong warning”. Strong warning may be putting it mildly. If you look up the phrase used here in the original Greek, you will find the word embrimaomai, which translates in to ‘scolding’ or ‘sternly warned’. The word is used in the Book of Mark only one other time. The word appears in Mark 14: 5, where the twelve scolded the women who ‘wasted’ money to anoint Jesus. Why was Jesus so angry with the leper? We get a clue in verse 45. Because of the leper’s disclosure, “Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.” I think Jesus had a concern at this time for the crowds He was attracting. Anyone who could attract people in large numbers brought concern among the Roman and Jewish authority. Now the time will come when Jesus will have to face these authorities, but that time was yet to come. I wonder if Jesus was concerned about the threat the presences of a crowd presented for His earthly mission. (See John 6: 15)
“Jesus could no longer enter a town openly, but stayed outside in lonely places.” Isn’t that role reversal interesting? The leper, was isolated, and had to stay away from others. Now he was healed, and could move about freely. Jesus was now the one isolated in lonely places. Jesus willingly took the lepers place. Soon after this event, He will take my place, and yours on that horrible cross.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.