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Life has always been tough for many in our world; COVID-19 has made it even tougher and depressing. It is as if everyone in the world is living in a slow moving horror movie. Humans always find a way though, to make the best out of a bad situation, while hoping for a better day. That better day arrived for this leper in the book of Mark, when he met Jesus, and his troubles melted away.
We read in Mark 1:38-45 (The Message Bible) (shortened): ‘Jesus said, “Let’s go to the rest of the villages so I can preach there also. This is why I’ve come… A leper came to him, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me… Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him… Then and there the leprosy was gone… Jesus dismissed him with strict orders: “Say nothing to anyone… But as soon as the man was out of earshot, he told everyone… spreading the news all over town. So Jesus kept to out-of-the-way places, no longer able to move freely in and out of the city. But people found him, and came from all over.’
Wow, what a joy report from Mark! A person with leprosy at that time was a condemned person. Leprosy was feared as a disease that could easily spread but hard to cure. If untreated, it could lead to crippling and deformation of hands and legs, and blindness. So, people with leprosy were kept in their own quarantine community. When they moved about, people kept a social distance from them.
Living with leprosy, was to live in a personal horror movie. So for this leper in the book of Mark, the better day he had hoped for, dream about, came when he heard Jesus was around the corner. He came to Jesus begging on his knees, I imagine him crying too, this is a desperate man. Jesus delivered big time for this man; deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand and touched him, a taboo for nobody touched lepers; Jesus touched him and healed him. Glory, glory, glory, to God in the highest!
Jesus healed this man and asked him to keep this quiet, but this was explosive news. The man burst with joy and went about telling everybody, telling the whole town. Jesus became a mega-star, he could not move about freely preaching the gospel, but that did not matter, for people found him, and came to him from all over. I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled by this joy report. It makes me smile, makes me glad, makes me yearn for an equally life changing, heart bursting joy report, in my life too.
Jesus, we too have been in the shadow of a COVID-19 horror show, heal us, heal the world, give us relief, give us a joy report like this, we pray in your precious name, Amen!