William L. Lane: Ravages and Stigma

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A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” Mark 1:40-41

“The leper, who had either seen Jesus’ mighty works or had heard about them, came beseeching Jesus to remove him from the ravages and stigma of this dreadful disease. In the firm conviction, “If you will you can make me clean,” he is asking for healing, not for the pronouncement that he is clean ritually, which only a priest could declare. It may be assumed that the man had shown himself to a priest once or several times already. His appeal was for Jesus to do what was believed impossible by human means, to cure him of his disease.”

William L. Lane in The Gospel of Mark (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974).

Clean is the air and water in the Rocky Mountains. Recently, I snapped the fresh header photo of Upper Bear Creek in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area.

Alternatively, people were labeled “unclean” in the ancient world who had leprosy. Stay away! I think the same is true with COVID-19.

I don’t get out much, but when I go to the chiropractor for treatment I have to sign a waiver that I have not been near someone with COVID-19 for 14 days.

I can relate. It’s humbling to admit this but I tend to steer clear of sick people. Perhaps you would report the same tendency? Touching them is unthinkable.

Diseases like leprosy or COVID-19 ravage people physically. It may be worse that the stigma destroys the human psyche emotionally.

As I consider the generosity and compassion of Jesus related to disease, I see Him as more powerful than the ravages and unafraid of the stigma.

Gracious God, make us people fearless, generous people who deliver Your help and hope to a world filled with disease and discouragement. Amen.