Healed through His Love

Mark 1:40-45

We've heard stories of leprosy in the Gospels before. We know that lepers lived in isolation, filth, & poverty until the disease eventually progressed to cause their death.  Leprosy was, and still is, a powerful analogy for sin, which is a widespread, contagious affliction with similar effects on our spiritual lives.  Sin isolates people from each other, causes deformities in character, and also leads to spiritual death.  Jesus offers us healing of sin through his love.


When Christ looks upon this leper and cures him with the mere touch of his hand, he shows not only his astonishing miracle working power but exhibits his ability to return outcast hearts to a living communion with God by taking away our sins.  Jesus Christ is the saving Lord of lepers, and sinners, – if only we kneel before him in faith.


What if we looked at this gospel from this perspective:  What would this scene look like if this leper had been afraid to come to Jesus?  What if he, in fear, remained in his isolation, afraid to come out in the open with his sickness, afraid to break with social protocol and kneel at the Master’s feet?  Well, of course, he would have stayed stuck in his gruesome affliction.  


The first lesson for us then, consists in admitting our need for help, coming to know that we are infected by sin & sinful tendencies, and that we need to be healed of this spiritual affliction. But sadly, with the devil’s help, we've become experts in muffling our conscience.  We can easily but very subtly, convince ourselves that we don’t really need God's help.  


This holy leper, in this Gospel, also teaches us two secrets to effective prayer: confidence and humility. He has no doubt that Christ can cure him. He says, “If you want to, you can cure me.” But he also knows that he has no right to demand a cure; he doesn’t say, “Cure me!” (in a self serving pleading way or a self serving demanding way). Note: He says, “If you want to…” (in other words), “you know what will be best for me and for your Kingdom; if curing me will give you glory, please do so, but if not, I will still believe and trust in you.”)


Confidence and humility unleashes God’s power and compassion, from God through us.  The reading says Jesus was moved with pity.


If our prayer weaves together a 1)healthy awareness of our need for God’s grace and assistance, 2) a real confidence in his power and love, and 3)the virtue of humility, God will be able to do wonders in us as well.


Few phenomena are as disgusting as leprosy in its advanced stages. So when Christ responds to this man’s plea by stretching out his hand and actually touching him, he shows a love that’s real, a love that comes to meet us in the absolute depths of our human misery.  God wants to be with us, so that he can raise us up to be with him.


Think of it this way: Can you imagine one of our own children coming to us with a problem that we could easily solve, and our response is one of indifference, where we'd say "ah, deal with it on your own!"


Think about it a second: Just because we witness indifference all around us in society, why do we assign the same indifference to our heavenly Father who created us? What about him says "indifference"?  What about creation (majestic scenes in nature, the perfection of a newborn baby, the intricacy of the human body- our two eyeballs working together to provide our vision) exhibits in him an attitude of "ah, whatever"?


Jesus came to save us from our sin.  He has redeemed us.  He reaches out to us each day, trying to draw us closer to him.  All the good that we have received has been his gift, and our faith is included in that gift. Yet, knowing the evidence that surrounds us of his love and compassion, why do we still fret and fear?  Why do we doubt his love?


So, we ask Jesus today, to forgive our fearful hearts.  We ask for his help in allowing us to step forward in confidence and humility to allow him to reign in our hearts.  We know that without Christ, we can do nothing.  We know that we can't heal ourselves. 


So we pray: Lord, grant us the peace of mind and soul that comes from living in the palm of your hand.  Teach us to love as you love.  It’s only through that love that we will find healing and be made clean.



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