Sermon on April 22 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 1:35-45
Two very different people – an outcast and Jesus the Son of God.
How does Jesus handle fragile, sinful people?
1. WHY DOES THE LEPER COME TO JESUS?
- Physically disabled
He is so disabled that he cannot feel any pain. His body has become a breeding ground for every infection imaginable.
- Socially discarded
All lepers were unwelcome in the city, and forced to live on the outside.
“Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’’’ (Lev. 13:45)
Sin, like leprosy is deeper than the skin. (Jer. 17: 9 ; Psalm 51:5; Romans 8:17)
- Totally desperate
The question for him is not Jesus ability to heal – but is He willing to heal?
Are you losing a sense of desperation for Jesus? Love for the world can damage our spiritual nerve-endings so we do not feel the decay until it is too late.
2. WHAT DOES THE LEPER DISCOVER IN JESUS?
- In Jesus, there is always scandalous love
Jesus could heal with a word – yet He touches someone who others would not.
‘To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth and their importance; it is to understand them, their cries and their body language …’
(‘Seeing Beyond Depression’: Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche communities)
- In Jesus, there is always saving power
Jesus power is not only in what He can do – to cleanse completely. His holiness cannot be contaminated and is contagious.
Only through Jesus can we who are all defiled by sin, become ‘insiders’ in the family of God.
‘And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood’ . (Hebrews 13:12)
- Be careful lest you get close to Jesus, yet not close enough
- Be assured that however hopeless life seems, Jesus can make a way
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
1. What kinds of people are shunned today in a way that approaches how lepers were shunned in Jesus’ day? How might we reach out and touch such people?
2. How is asking Jesus, ‘If you are willing..?’ (1:40) different from asking him, ‘If you can do anything..?’ (9:22)
3. Is it surprising that Jesus should touch the leper? Why? How does this reassure us about Jesus’ character?
4. The leper’s publicity of his healing changed what people expected from Jesus’ ministry. What should we publicize about what goes on at IBC Brussels in order to give people a true picture of what to expect?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Katherine Evans