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10.THEN CAME A LEPER
Mark 1:40:45


Before reading the Passage

Each of the four Gospel writers has a different emphasis as they present the Lord Jesus to us.

• Matthew emphasizes the Teaching of our Lord.

• Luke emphasizes the Parables of our Lord.

• John emphasizes the Deity of our Lord.

• Mark emphasizes the Miracles of our Lord.

Have you ever wondered why our Lord performed miracles while He was here on earth?

• Acts 2:22 – Notice: Miracles emphasize the power behind the miracle; signs emphasize the purpose in the miracle; wonders emphasize the praise from the miracle.

• Why miracles?

(1) To give proof that Jesus was the Messiah.

John 3:2 – “ Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no man can do

these miracles that You do unless God is with him.”

(2) To show that He was a merciful Messiah – He would alleviate the ills of mankind.

(3) To glorify His Father.

Let me point out something to you as we think of our Lord's miracles. Jesus never alters what God made in the first place through miracles. That is, He never took one thing and made another thing out of it.

• When Jesus was in the wilderness and Satan tried to get Him to turn the stones into bread,

Jesus would not do it. Jesus knew about stones (He is the Chief Cornerstone) and He knew

about bread (He is the Bread of Life), but He would not alter what God made in the first

place.

• By the way, that's why I know God never made man homosexuals – He never alters what He makes. If He made a child to be a male child, it was to be a man. God didn't get mixed up and say, “Well, I made him a male, but I'm going to alter him to be a homosexual.” God made male and female; not something in-between. The homosexual can't say, “God made me like this.” No, God never made anything between a male and female; between a man and woman.

Now, as we look at this passage, we are going to see one of our Lord's great miracles. We will see a leper who was Hurting, Healed, and Hindering.

Read the Passage.

This man didn't just have leprosy; Luke tells us that he was “full of leprosy” (5:12), which means he was in the last stages of leprosy, the advanced stage, which would make the man utterly repulsive.

Four things I want you to see from this passage:

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I. The Condition of the Leper 1:40

During Bible times leprosy was the most dreaded of diseases. It was the worse physical condition that could exist in a person's life. The bravest of men feared leprosy. It struck terror in the hearts of all who came in contact with it.

• Let me describe what must have taken place in this man's life as leprosy laid hold of him. Probably it started when he began to feel tired for no reason. He would have a feeling of fatigue. Then his joints would begin to get sore. One day he began to notice little white spots

all over his body. They would turn from white to pink as his flesh would get raw. Then they would turn from pink to brown and than become scaly. Soon nodules would form where the spots were and the nodules would ulcerate, producing a foul odor. In some cases you could smell the leper before you saw him. Nodules would cover his vocal cords so that when he breathed there would be a wheezing sound and when he talked there would be a raspy sound.

• The face was attacked the worse. The disease would eat away at the nose, ears, and lips until nothing was left of them. It would be a revolting sight as fleshy holes were where the nose, ears and lips were. The hair on the head and eyebrows would turn white and then fall out.

• The fingers and toes would fall off at the joints. As he walked he would leave putrid spots where the pus oozed out of his feet. Inch by inch his body would begin to rot.

• Leprosy attacks the nervous system in such a way that a person loses all sensation of pain. He might accidentally put his hand in the fire and feel no pain, but burn himself severely – or step on a thorn as it ran through his foot and feel nothing. A leper was a walking death that lasted an average of nine years until its victim finally collapsed in a pile of corruption.

Not only would the leper suffer horribly physically, but there was also social rejection. When it was determined that a man had leprosy, he would be banished from the village. He was no longer allowed to have communion with other people. He had to leave family, friends, and tear his clothes so people could recognize he was a leper. Over his lips he had to wear a cloth so he wouldn't spread contamination. Every time he saw people coming, the leper was required to cry, “Unclean.” It would warn them a leper was nearby. People would sometimes pick up stones and throw at them. He would feel worthless and hopeless. Leprosy was a death warrant for him. It was just a matter of time.

Why have I spent so much time describing leprosy? Because in the Bible, leprosy is a picture of sin. The lost man stands as a spiritual leper before a holy God.

• Isaiah 64:6 – Sin starts out small and then spreads. At first when you sin your conscious strings you, but then you begin to lose all sensitivity to the wrong.

• Satan will tell you two lies: (1) Sin won't hurt you. You'll enjoy it. It'll bring you real satisfaction. Everybody's doing it. (2) Then after you sin he says, “It's too late; there's no way out. You're doomed!”

The Cry of the Leper 1:40

Picture this sight as this repulsive leper cast himself at the feet of Jesus: Pollution Falls Before Purity!

• Somehow he heard about Jesus and His healing power; and believed that Jesus had the power to heal him, so he came running to Jesus – which was against the law, for he was to stay his

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distance and cry out “unclean.” I wonder if the folks who were with Jesus, including His disciples, began to scatter. He knew he was not welcome by most, but he came anyway. Others stayed in the caves and tombs away from folks, dying inch by inch, wishing they were clean, wishing they were a better man, watching Jesus pass by, but made no effort to get to Him.

• It's one thing to wish you were clean and a better man, but it's not enough just to sit idly by and wish, you have to do something. He had to at least make an effort!

• Mark says that the leper came “beseeching Him.” That's more than just asking; it is earnest pleading! Matthew says the leper “worshiped” (8:2); Mark says he came “kneeling down to Him” (1:40); Luke says he “fell on his face” (5:12), in respect and reverence.

• Not only that, he confessed his condition: “Lord, if you are willing You can make me clean,” for I am unclean.

Don't miss this: “Lord, IF you are willing, You can make me clean.” “Lord, I know You can, You have the power to do so, but I'm not sure You would want to; I'm not sure You care enough about a leper like me to do anything for me.”

• How did this man get to this state? He had lost faith in love. For him, love was dead. What brought him to that kind of thinking? Well, I can imagine what brought him to that state.

(1) He had suffered long and alone. He had been separated from all that he loved – his family

and friends. No one visited him. He felt forgotten. He had no fellowship of any kind,

except from fellow lepers.

(2) He had been taught that his disease was a mark of divine displeasure; that he was under

the frown of God, so he was unfit for any kind of fellowship with God.

• So he says to Jesus, “I know you have the power, but do you want to.”

There is a deeper truth here: He is also saying, “I know you have the power, but I'm not sure it's your will – your plan or purpose to heal me.”

• It is not God's will to heal everyone. God has purpose in every decision He makes. God's eternal purpose and plan is the central issue here. He is also saying, “Lord, if it is in your will and you see purpose in it please heal me.”

• I can't see what purpose God has in some sicknesses or in premature death, but I trust Him even when I have no idea what He's doing. God has purpose in every decision He makes.

III. Compassion of the Lord 1:41

Our Lord Jesus was a man of compassion. Listen to what I read in the Gospels:

• “And He (Jesus) had compassion on him.”

• “And He was full of compassion for him.”

• “Jesus was moved with compassion toward him.”

What was the result?

• Jesus did not drive him away or repel him; Jesus put forth His hand and touched him.

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• Compassion is something active. You can pity folks, as the priest and Levite did in the story of the Good Samaritan, and do nothing, or you can have compassion and reach out and minister.

I doubt if he had been touched by a healthy, loving hand in years. How he must have longed for a touch. There is healing power in just a touch.

• Jesus touched him. Time must have stood still for the leper, for the word “touch” expresses more than a superficial touch. It means “to take hold of.”

• The on-lookers must have been shocked! But what love and compassion the leper experienced.

• Jesus could have healed with a word, from a distance – that would have showed His power. But He touched him; that showed His love and compassion!

• By stretching forth His hand and touching him, Jesus brought healing to his soul as well as his body. It showed the leper that Jesus was not only a Healer of the body, but a Lover of the soul.

Jesus wants to touch and heal us of our spiritual leprosy.

Years ago a young man offered himself for membership in a certain church. The preacher asked him about his conversion, and he said he owed his conversion to Henry Drummond. The preacher next asked him what Mr. Drummond said to him. “He said nothing,” was the reply, “He simply put his hand on my shoulder and looked at me.” But there was something in the touch that broke his heart and brought him to Christ, because it was a touch of real sympathy born of real love. It was a brother's touch. And there is nothing that this old world needs today as much as the touch of a brother.

“When a man ain't got a cent

And is feelin' kinder blue,

And the clouds hang low and heavy,

And won't let the sunshine through.

It is a great thing, O my brethren,

For a fellow just to lay

His hand upon your shoulder

In a friendly sort O'way.

“It makes a man feel curious,

And it makes the teardrops start,

And you sorter feel a flutter

In the region of the heart,

And you can't look up and meet his eye,

And you don't know what to say.

When his hand is on your shoulder

In a friendly sort O'way.”

IV. The Cleansing of the Leper 1:42

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Immediately! The healing was complete! His nose, ears, lips, hair, fingers, toes – All restored. You can hear him crying not “Unclean! Unclean!” but “I'm clean! I'm clean!”

The Command of the Lord 1:43-45

The miracle ends on a sour note because of disobedience.

• Jesus did what the leper requested, but the leper was not willing to do what Jesus requested.

• The leper received the desires of his heart and much more, but ignored the desire of the One who healed him.

Why did Jesus want him not to tell until he showed himself to the priest?

1. It would promote obedience on the part of the leper.

Stopping to talk to others would slow him down from getting to the priest who would verify that a miracle had been worked., Mark 1:44 said that showing himself to the priest would be a testimony – a witness unto the Lord.

2. The leper's sensational story forced Jesus out of the city and into the desert places. The crowd that followed Him were interested only in miracles and He wanted to teach them. He didn't want just a miracle-seeking crowd.

3. The leper's telling aggravated the religious leaders and government officials against Christ ahead of time.

Do you wonder if Jesus is willing to cleanse you...to save you?

• Jesus is willing. He is willing to work an immediate deliverance. He is willing to receive you and make you whole now.

• But His willingness will go for nothing, unless you, like the poor leper, come to Him.

• Will you let Him speak this word to your heart? “I am willing. Be thou clean!”