By Pastor Shana Wise
Mark 1:40-45 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.”41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”45 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.
Where did the leprous man fall short of following through with the instructions that Jesus gave him?
What is the significance of the instructions given?
Read Leviticus chapter fourteen. The chapter details what a leper is supposed to do once they have been healed. They are directed to follow the instructions of the priest and present an offering.
In the text concerning Jesus healing the man with leprosy, being the High Priest, Jesus was able to heal the man by just touching him. Before Jesus healed the man physically, the man was dealing with the spirit of false humility and maybe doubt and unbelief. I say this because the man came to Jesus kneeling and requesting, “If You are willing, you can make me clean”, appearing humble and believing; but his actions that followed the miracle reflected a deeper issue. Jesus gave that man specific instructions to do after the healing took place, but the man did the opposite of what he was told.
Jesus knew that the man was going to behave this way, because Jesus is all-knowing, however, Jesus respond to the leper with compassion. This is a great lesson for us when we minister to others, no matter what condition they are in, they are not unworthy of compassion and love.
There may be times where we minister or serve other people and they do not appreciate it or the act of kindness does not change them, however, we cannot let that hinder us from serving God and his children.
Is there anything, or a past situation or circumstance that is hindering your compassion to serve others?
Jesus’ instructions to the man were not to say anything to anyone, go show yourself to the priest, and make an offering. The leper did not follow through with the instruction given by the One who just healed him.
Lessons we can learn from the leper not following through with the instructions that Jesus gave him:
1. The leper could have hindered his healing process because of his disobedience. The same goes for us: It is like when the doctor prescribes medicine and instructs us to take all of it, and we only take some of it because we feel better. For the ones who do not take all the medicine as prescribed, they could end up worse than they were before they started taking it. If I could imagine the outcome of the leper, I would think that he was healed but never made whole. Healing can be a temporary state of being in our flesh, but what about the spirit? When we are made whole, we may get sick again, but our soul is secure in Christ Jesus, and that leads to eternal life where sickness has no place.
What areas of your life do you need Jesus to heal and make you whole?
2. When Jesus heals or blesses us, it is not just for us, but it is given to be a testimony for the Kingdom of God. Why did Jesus give the leper specific instructions (not saying nothing, going to the priest, making an offering)? I believe it was for several reasons:
a) We need to know how to honor and bless God when he blesses us. It is an expression of gratitude and humility. This man received his healing from leprosy, but could not see the Blesser and Healer who was Jesus Christ. He was more excited about the blessing than the Blesser. God wants to give us more than just the benefits of the Kingdom (healing), he wants to give us Him (a relationship). Sometimes, the things that were meant to be a blessing for us can turn into a stumbling block and hinder our relationship with God.
What has God blessed you with? Did you make sure to honor and worship him for it?
b) The priest did not get a chance to see the man at the temple. What is the significance of this? Many of the priests did not believe in Jesus for themselves. The man’s undeniable healing could have been a testimony to them about Jesus Christ. The priest suffered from false humility as the leper did, and in a sense, they needed healing too.
3. As we find out in the story because the leper went and told everybody how Jesus healed him, crowds of people came to him and followed him, and this was his norm while he was ministering in this region. There was nothing wrong with the people coming to Jesus, but because the man didn’t do what he was supposed to do, it ruined his witness. He told the people, “what they could get from Jesus (healing)”, rather than sharing that Jesus was Lord (relationship). Many in the crowd saw Jesus as just a “miracle worker”, but they did not understand that God was walking among them. The lesson we can learn from this is that our testimonies should drive others to want to have a relationship with God, rather than what they can get from them. God heals and blesses us to bring glory to him!
Reflect on your last testimony to someone else. Did you make sure to give God the glory in whatever he did for you?
4. Lastly, the story stated that Jesus could no longer “openly go into the city” because of the crowds. Jesus went to the nearby desert and the crowd found him there too. Once again, there was nothing wrong with the crowd seeking Jesus, but their motives were to come and get something from him verse having a relationship. Due to this, it was hard for other people who wanted to see and have access to Jesus, to get near him because of the crowds.
Who are some people, that you know, that need access to Jesus, but “the crowd” is getting in their way? Write out a prayer for them.
I wonder if the man would have followed the original instructions Jesus gave him, how would this story have turned out?
Regardless of that, I am thankful that Jesus still looks beyond where we fall short on following through on the instructions and continues to show his love towards us. Our lack of participation in the process does not stop God from being God. He loves us despite our faults and shortcomings. We must remember, when we do fall short of the instructions, it is never too late to get it right and do what God told us to do. Learning from our mistakes helps us to grow in Christ and it also helps us to be a better witness moving forward.
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
Books available on Amazon at:
Acts of Intercession
The Impact of Your Election
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