Mark 1:40-45 – Jesus Heals a Leper
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 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.” But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
I struggled with this story as I got through the first few verses. I love the question that the man asked of Jesus…”If you choose, you can make me clean.” Its actually more of a declaration than a question, but still a powerful and meaningful thing to say to Jesus. You can do this Jesus, I believe you can. If you choose…Jesus…”I do choose…be made clean.” Shortly after my first reading of this passage this morning, I opened my email to find two new emails from Caringbridge.org sharing the most recent experiences of two dear friends of mine who are fighting cancer. One is battling a new, advanced diagnosis and the other is battling a recurrence. In both (as well as in many others), there are many people praying and professing this same faith and belief as this man did – Lord, we know you can bring this healing…But here as in so many other cases that I have seen in my life…the response hasn’t been as Jesus did here. The picture today right now is an expression of what I have felt before – the way has not been made…at least what I hope and pray to see. Yet I continue to pray and plead…Lord, make them clean.