Mark 1:40-43 And a leper came to him, begging him, and saying to him, “If you desire to, you can purify me.” Angered, (Jesus) stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I desire, be pure!” And immediately the leper left him, and he was purified. And growling at him, (Jesus) immediately cast him away, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priests, and offer your purification what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Instead, (the former leper) went out and began to talk about it, and to spread the news, with the result that (Jesus) was not longer able to enter into a town openly, but stayed outside in deserted places.
This passage in Mark is more correctly translated with the word angered, but some translations do choose a more obscure translation of “with compassion” as they do not feel “angered” fits Jesus’ nature. Considering the fact that the people did not feel that they could go to the priests, following the laws of Moses, and that they needed to instead go to Jesus, likely angered Jesus. It was not so much the leper, as the situation. And, after instructing the man not to tell anyone, he told everyone, which caused Jesus issues, further confirms that Jesus had a right to be angry. When someone does not do his job, or follow the rules, to the point where another needs to step in, the system breaks down! This may seem like a minor point, as the priests likely did not believe they were neglectful or unapproachable, and the man likely thought he was helping everyone out by telling them where to go to be healed, but it caused a major change in Jesus’ ability to minister to the people.
Application for today: Think about: How often do you skirt your responsibilities, thinking someone else will handle it?
Example: One of the places I see this happening is in the raising of children, particularly in their education. We can use an example I observed of my granddaughters. One was homeschooled and the other was online in public school. My son was sitting in between them. The homeschooled child was learning to write a letter, while the public-school child was getting yet another lecture about basic behavior, including instructions on how to speak nicely to our friends. (She was not the source of the problem fortunately! Similar instructions are also repeated in every college class that uses a discussion format unfortunately….)
What I see today is that both teachers and parents are often not receptive to communication making them effectively unapproachable. Additionally, parents are often not checking homework, or correcting behavior, and/or making excuses for their child’s performance and they assume that the teacher should be responsible for much more than is reasonable. If the teacher has to teach any child in the class basic behavior that should have been taught at home, then there is not much time left for math and English! (There are teachers who are less than stellar. I understand. That is a problem that needs to be brought to the administration and not the scenario we are discussing here….)
Thiessen, Matthew. Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels’ Portrayal of Ritual Impurity Within First-century Judaism. Baker Academic, 2020.
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