A few thoughts on Mark 1:40-42
40. A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.
41. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”
42. Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.
This event occurs rather early in Jesus’ ministry. Leprosy is a painful and debilitating disease. Those with it were isolated and “unclean”. Apparently, this man had heard of Jesus – and decided to take a chance, cross the street – and ask (beg) Jesus to heal him.
Verse 41 states that Jesus was – moved with compassion. And then Jesus does something: He reaches out and touches the man. Rather than turn away from the one who was unclean, Jesus, filled with mercy and love, cares for him.
The same is true, now, for those who come to Jesus. By his grace – his unfailing love – Jesus forgives all who come to Him in faith. Beyond mere physical healing, Jesus heals us spiritually, replacing our broken and lifeless spirit with His glorious and eternal Life. He unites Himself with us – never to leave, never to forsake.
If we ever doubt his compassion – remember those hands – reaching out to touch the man condemned by leprosy – and then see those same hands, stretched out on a cross – reaching out to touch a world condemned by sin.
Side note – This was our family Bible study tonight. When I asked my son, what does “compassion” mean, he thought for a moment and answered, “a love that’s never failing”. I asked where he learned that definition – and he said that he learned it from one of the songs we sing in church – Mighty To Save:
Everyone needs compassion,
Love that’s never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.
Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.