Binding Broken Hearts

Introducing Jesus to Those Who Need Him Most

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Service and Sacrifice - Mark 1:39-45

When we last saw Jesus, we learned that the source of His power came from the time He spent with His Father regardless of how much sleep He had or had not gotten the night before. He gave us the example to rise early and spend both quality and quantity time with God so that we can meet the challenges of the day.

After being rejuvenated and repowered by His Father, Jesus went “preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.” (Mark 1:39)

Word spread rapidly. Galilee was turned upside down, as it were, as Jesus preached, healed, cast out demos, and met the needs of the people. The residents of Galilee (and probably even further afield) had never seen anything like this. Everyone who knew anyone with a need brought that person to Jesus because Jesus could do what no one else could.

Into this atmosphere of amazement, rejoicing, and thanksgiving, comes a lone figure.

“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.’” (Mark 1:40)

I find this statement from the leper interesting. Jesus had been going from place to place throughout Galilee performing all manner of miracles for any and every one. And yet somehow this leper felt that he would be the one person that Jesus would refuse to heal.

Do we not, at times, approach Jesus in the same way? That somehow we will be the one person that He will refuse to listen to? That He will just turn away and ignore our cry for help? Do we see Jesus as someone who has to be talked into helping us, but only after we’ve made enough progress ourselves and using language that has just the right twist to, well, twist His arm?

Here’s a twist. In light of the leper’s view of himself as he approaches Jesus, Mark gives us a beautiful insight into the heart of Jesus.

“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’” (Mark 1:41)

Jesus was “moved with compassion.” The Greek word is splagchnizomai, which means “to feel deeply or viscerally, to yearn, have compassion, pity.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Jesus did not have to be talked into helping this leper. Jesus didn’t heal the leper because the leper had a fabulous sales pitch or track record in his life. Jesus, seeing this man, felt compassion deep within His gut and longed to helped him. When we think of Jesus, do we see someone who has a deep, visceral longing to help us with whatever we may need?

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Jesus sent the jubilant man – previously known as leper – straight to the priest (think – do not pass Go) to fulfill the requirements of Moses and to be officially proclaimed as healed in the local records.

The man didn’t quite go directly to the priest, although I’m sure he made it there eventually.

“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 1:45)

I have a feeling that if that had been me, I would have been telling everyone along the way as well. But, wait, don’t we too have things to share every day about the way Jesus has worked in and through us?

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” (Psalm 107:1-2)

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