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Watering the Tulips


“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed’” - Mark 1:40-41

I have often heard this passage referenced. Without doubt, this is a great miracle. This man, a leper, was a perfect picture of the sinfulness of the natural man. Leprosy was a horribly atrocious disease. The attitude of the people towards leprosy was much like our attitude towards AIDS 25 years ago – when people were afraid to go to the dentist or a public bathroom. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we felt the same way about sin today?
Jesus was the perfect remedy for this man! He knew of Christ’s ability to heal him. He firmly believed if the Lord was willing, He could heal him of his leprosy. How wondrous that Jesus was both able and willing! Only through the work of Jesus Christ can sinners be healed today!
In a nutshell, that is the way I’ve heard the passage explained. And, there’s nothing wrong with that explanation. It’s all true and worthy of meditation. But, there is much more here than that. Go back in your mind and think of how the people felt about leprosy. Jesus understood this. Surely, people had avoided this man for a long time. Most likely, few religious folk had any compassion for this man. All they knew is they didn’t want to be considered unclean by accidentally coming into contact with him.
But, what did Jesus do? Knowing how the religious folks would view Him if he came into contact with this leper, our text says specifically that Jesus “stretched out His hand and touched him”. At this moment, all of the religious people of the day declared Jesus to be unclean. The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Scribes wrote Him off immediately! But, Jesus wasn’t concerned about their religious tradition. He gave this man exactly what he needed – a healing touch.
Don’t misunderstand here, the touch was not necessary. We often see Jesus healing by word alone. Jesus even healed some when He wasn’t anywhere near them (Luke 7:1-10). The Lord could have saved Himself of a bit of persecution by doing the same in this situation. But, Christ didn’t concern Himself with religious tradition, but with truth!
Where are you? Are you merely following the religious tradition of your parents? Are you only doing what you’ve always seen done? Is your religious desire nothing more than a desire to please the brethren? None of this is pleasing to the Lord (Mark 7:9, 13). Tradition does not equal truth. The “old paths” are not necessarily what you’ve always seen done. The “old paths” are found in God’s Holy Word!
Children of God, let us endeavor to please God alone. Let us not to be concerned with only the motions of religion. Pray that God will give us a heart to approach Him in both worship and service!

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