Jesus and Social Distancing
In the first chapter of Mark, we see an interesting and profound encounter with Jesus and man with leprosy. Leprosy is a skin disease that is highly contagious. In the times of the Bible, when someone had leprosy, they were required to keep their distance from all other people. Furthermore, they were required to yell, “Unclean! Unclean!” as others approached them to ensure that the other person was warned of their condition.
Think about the humiliation, loneliness, and isolation that people who had this condition felt.
Now let’s look at the encounter of Jesus and the man with leprosy from Mark 1:40-42, “A man with leprosy came to him (Jesus) and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”
The first truth we see in this encounter is: Jesus is willing and able to heal.
When the man came to Jesus, he expressed his confidence (his faith) that Jesus could heal him. “You can make me clean.” He questioned if Jesus was willing to do so. Jesus immediately responded, “I am willing” and cured the man.
The second truth that we see is: Jesus is full of compassion and will meet your greatest needs when you come to Him in faith. Jesus could have healed this man any number of ways. There are other accounts in the Bible where Jesus heals people who are towns away. But Jesus touched the man. He touched the leper. Jesus broke the social distancing barrier and the stigma that lepers felt when He touched him. Yes, this man needed to be healed of the disease. But even more than that, he needed to be loved. When we come to Jesus in faith, He will meet us at our point of need, and He will love us.
There are many stories like this in the Bible where our natural inclination is to conclude that the moral of the story is that we should be more like Jesus. That we should be more compassionate. While that is certainly valid, the greater truth is revealed when we put ourselves in the position of the leper. Because of our sin, we are all outcasts; separated from God and in desperate need of cleansing. Only Jesus can cleanse us of our sin disease. Come to Jesus in faith that He alone can heal you. And you will find Him compassionate, ready, willing, and able to heal you completely.