Notes on Mark’s Gospel (20)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

The Transforming Power of Love (Chapter 1 Verses 40-45)

This is where Mark departs from the chronological order, this took place following the Sermon on the Mount. It is not just what this man asks for, but the way he asks for it that is remarkable. It reveals an attitude of faith, he believes fully in the power of Jesus to heal him. He does not express a doubt as to whether Jesus is able, but if he actually does will to heal him, he understands he can do it. In other words he is quite content to leave the matter in Jesus’ hands. The humble submission of this man is tremendous, just as a true child of God must always do, placing by faith, their circumstances in the hands of an all-loving, all-wise God. He is actually willing to remain with this deadly disease if Jesus so wills. Submissive faith can go no further. How did this leper come to such faith? Did he hear Jesus speak of the blessings of the kingdom on the Mount? Was he perhaps perched some distance away from the people, yet listening to all Jesus was saying? The preacher often never knows where the seed lodges, what issues are being settled as the word of God is explained. But what an encouragement for preachers is this man, and those like him. What an encouragement to us all, to pray for the preaching of God’s word. For openings, for prepared hearts, for receptivity, and equally important to pray for the word preached after the event.

The unhappiness of this soul must have been profound, socially and religiously unacceptable. He would be pronounced Levitically unclean, excommunicated from the people of God. His malady would be regarded as a chastisement from God. The Lord is moved with compassion (v41). Jewish law forbade anyone to touch, come near a leper, but love and compassion take precedence over law, always, which Jesus demonstrated by healing on the Sabbath. Paul teaches the very same, you can be a super powered preacher, or super spiritual person, a super giver, or even a super martyr, but without love and compassion? You are nothing (1Corinthians 13 1-3)! It has been said before, love is not a funny feeling, it is an act of the will. The Lord’s compassion is turned into action. No doubt Jesus feels the pain of compassion at the sight of the suffering man. But a point comes when the heart is turned, moved to action. So too it must with us who are called by his lovely name (Luke 10.25-37). “Go thou and do likewise”.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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