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Mark 1:35-42 1

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Background

Who was the Apostle Mark? He was a relative of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). Most agree that Mark was the first person to write a *Gospel.” Both Matthew and Luke seem to have used it as the basis for their own Gospels. Mark perhaps completed it in the year 65, soon after Peter’s death. There are some details that are only in Mark’s Gospel. Peter called him ‘Mark, my son’ (1 Peter 5:13). This was probably because Peter had helped Mark to believe in Jesus. The details in Mark’s Gospel show that they probably came from eye-witnesses, possibly Peter himself, who gave Mark the information.

Jesus had been helping crowds of people through His teaching and healing. In our verses, we find Jesus in need of time to pray to God in order to receive new strength and peace of mind. He also needed God’s guidance. Jesus needed to decide whether He should continue His work in Capernaum or move on to other places. Peter and the others with Jesus realized that He had gone off somewhere. The people who were searching for Jesus probably hoped for more healing miracles. Jesus knew that His primary role was to preach. He needed to  take time to invite the people into His kingdom. That was why Jesus had come into the world,  teach as many people as possible about the Kingdom of God.

One person that was searching for Jesus was a man with leprosy.  Since anyone with this disease had to stay away from other people, is is most probable that the man had been following from behind the crowds and then took an opportunity to talk to Jesus when he noticed that  Jesus had gone off to be alone. We need to remember that lepers suffer in two ways: (1) from his disease itself; and (2) from loneliness since lepers were ostracized from society. As the leper approached Jesus, he believed that Jesus had the power to cure him but there must have been more here. Mark 1:41 states that “Jesus was indignant.” In today’s English language, we would conclude that to be “indignant,” Jesus must have been angry or annoyed by the leper. Not so. Jesus was interpreting the man’s request as being unfair, another meaning of the word indignant.

We probably can conclude that because the leper was kept away from society, that he did not know that Jesus also loved the people. The leper did not KNOW Jesus. He was not sure whether Jesus would want to cure him. Jesus’s actions, however, tell the entire story. Jesus clearly had the power to just heal the man.  However, Jesus touched the man to show His love. The society of Jews would have never touched anyone who had such a skin disease. The belief at that time was to touch a leper would make them unholy.  The indignance Mark expressed was that the man did not truly understand the loving nature of Jesus. Jesus was not just a teacher or a healer but truly cared for those around Him.  Jesus had come as their Messiah.

In the verses following our lesson, Jesus  would  obey the Jewish law  and send the man to the priest, and also instruct the man to follow the proper process so that he could reenter society. The priest would examine him and would declare that he was healthy again. After the man had carried out the proper ceremonies, he would be able to mix with other people again (Leviticus 14:1-32). Instead, the man went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news about his healing. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places due to the crowds of people seeking Him.

Items for Discussion

  • The leper had misunderstandings of the true nature of Jesus – How to people make that same mistake today?
  • How do we get to KNOW Jesus?
  • What about God’s character can we learn about Jesus’s interaction with the leper?
  • Jesus told the cured leper to follow the Jewish law – Why do you think that was important? How does that instruction relate to us today?
  • Jesus shows us that there is nothing wrong with seeking quiet time, to be alone to pray, to clear our minds, to refocus our priorities – What are the modern day interferences that keep us from seeking the quiet time with God?
  • Where are your quiet times that you set aside with God?
  • Do you think that the cured leper was wrong not to do as Jesus asked and stay quiet about his healing? Why or Why not?
  • Who are the “modern day lepers” within our society today?
  • Today, we have many misunderstandings about the nature and motives of people – How do we prevent that from happening?
  • We are called to accountability and to repentance – What happens to our ability to love one another when we don’t follow that formula?

Discussion Challenge

  • How does a person focus on God when the world around them is in chaos?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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