Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus requests, sometimes forbids, and in today’s text sternly warns those he’s healed to remain quiet about the miracles they experienced. While moved with pity for the masses of people in need, Jesus wasn’t ready for his purpose to be revealed. Good news travels fast, though, and the healed leper began to proclaim it freely (v. 45). His sharing didn’t come from a desire to defiantly disobey. He simply couldn’t contain his transformative experience. He had to tell it.
The word “leprosy” traditionally covered various skin diseases. Communities shunned, isolated, and cast out the lepers among them. Not only did Jesus’ miracle cleanse the man from his unsightly disease, it gave him back his life and his connection to his community. People who had recoiled at his sores, rashes, bloodied scales, and weeping skin would have noticed that he was no longer marred by them. Some could hardly believe their eyes. Perhaps the necessity of explaining his situation, mingled with his profound gratitude, compelled the man to speak.
The healings in Mark’s first chapter reveal a compassionate Jesus who restores many at the risk of being found out and passionately pursued by the people. Some come to Jesus, as they always do, out of curiosity. Yet some, perhaps most, come out of their desire to be healed. With faith the size of a mustard seed, they believe that Jesus was sent from God and that he is their only hope.
“Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread,” said D.T. Niles. May we realize how God satisfies our hunger and say so. May our lives bear witness to the goodness, grace, and healing presence of God within us. And may this news flow freely from us so that others might find hope in the midst of their sorrow, isolation, and loneliness.
In what ways has Christ healed you? How do you let this news flow freely?
God, make us whole through the power of your incarnate, risen Son. Amen.