How Jesus got stirred up about disease.
A couple hours after I write this, I’m heading to the hospital. I’ll be walking the halls, talking to staff. I’ll be showing up in the ER about the same time as the person coming from the crash or the person fearing a stroke or the person terrified about the baby that stopped moving. I won’t be visiting four moms I prayed for on Friday, mostly older. All four of them have died since then.
Although you may not watch that much pain in such a short time, you probably know it from the inside.You’ve been the one with the fears and the terror and the questions.
You’ve been the one who says to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” That’s what a man with leprosy said from the ground in front of Jesus. He had fallen there, begging for help.
At the time the man comes to Jesus, Jesus was little more than a rumor, just starting to travel outside his adopted hometown. People had heard he could heal, and they were desperate. Especially this man.
The medical and religious authorities had sent people like him away from people, past the outskirts. Talking was hollering. Touching was impossible. Relationship wasn’t.
And so he comes to Jesus for help.
And Jesus gets emotional. There are scholarly debates about whether he was tearful with compassion or irate at the pain. Either way, he says “I am willing. Be cleansed.”
And the man is cleansed.
But we see many people who aren’t. The women I prayed with, though at least one expressed a readiness to be done, none of them were cleansed, not in this body. Neither was the one who you remember every time you hear about someone else being healed.
I don’t have a quick nor completely satisfying answer to why some and why not others. But I walk away from this story and into the hallways remembering one picture. Jesus getting emotional. Whether he was offering physical or relational or ultimately spiritual healing, Jesus wasn’t detached from the situation.
I’ll be looking for him tonight.
- Mark 1:40-45 ↵