Jesus, Strong and Kind

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Samuel Ho asks us to consider Jesus, the merciful and faithful high priest who has made us clean with His blood, and encourages us to draw near to God through Him.

The author of Hebrews exhorts us to consider Jesus, the high priest of our confession. He who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin, and hence, is able to sympathise with our weaknesses. He who learned obedience through what He suffered. He who can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward since He himself is beset with weakness. 

Consider Jesus in this short passage of three verses in Mark 1:40–42: 

And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

Consider Jesus, strong and kind. 

Mark tells us of a leper who came to Jesus, kneeling and begging Him, saying, “If you will, you can make me clean.” This might be surprising for some of us to read. Why didn’t he say to Jesus, “If you will, you can heal me.”? The leper’s actions may seem like nothing much to us as we read it, but in those days, people would have been absolutely horrified and disgusted by his actions. Leprosy, in those days, encompassed a variety of skin diseases that people thought were highly contagious, and the effects were quite horrific. Leprosy wasn’t like any other disease or illness like fever. If you had leprosy in those days, you were pretty much a dead man walking. Not only did you have to deal with the physical pain and suffering and disfigurement of the disease, but leprosy also isolated you in the worst way. People obviously didn’t want anything to do with you because they were afraid of catching it. And not only that, they also thought it was a punishment from God for some sin that you had committed. In Leviticus 22, we read that if anyone came into contact with something unclean, they became unclean as well. And so, if a leper came in contact with other people, they pass on their uncleanness to them as well, and they became unclean. Hence, in Leviticus 13:45–46, we read that anyone with leprosy had to tear his clothes, cover his moustache, and cry “Unclean! Unclean!” so that people could recognise them and stay as far away as possible from them. He had to live alone outside the camp. 

If you had leprosy, your livelihood was gone, you could no longer be with your family. But worst of all, leprosy cut you off from God and His people. It made you ritually unclean, and that separated you from the rest of God’s people and from God himself (2 Chron 26:21, Lev 22:4). 

And so, we see the great faith of this leprous man as he broke all the rules to approach Jesus and said to him “If you will, you can make me clean”. Notice that to him it wasn’t a question of, “Can Jesus make me clean?” but, “Will Jesus make me clean?” He believed that Jesus can make him clean. 

And Mark tells us that Jesus, moved with pity, stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him “I will, be clean.” jesus-strong-and-kind-pullquote

If you have read the narrative in Mark’s gospel up to this account, it feels like Mark is rushing things along, using the word “immediately” 8 times in the first 39 verses before this account. But in this scene, it’s as if Mark describes everything in slow motion, isn’t it?

Jesus was moved with pity.
Jesus stretched out his hand.
Jesus touched him.
Jesus spoke to him.
Jesus made him clean. 

Jesus didn’t have to touch the leper. He could’ve have just said the word and it would have been done. But He chose to touch the leper. And back then you really, really, really didn’t want to touch lepers! But Mark tells us that immediately the leprosy left the man, and he was made clean. The leprous man didn’t make Jesus unclean, Jesus made him clean! 

What strength. What kindness.

Our uncleanness and weakness is not what drives Jesus away from us, it is what draws Him near. We can draw near to the throne of grace through Jesus to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

We can come to Him who says: “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (Jn 6:37). 

In his book, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, John Bunyan reflects on this verse and uses it to address our common fears and doubts about coming to Jesus. 

But I am a great sinner, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I am an old sinner, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I am a hard-hearted sinner, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I am a backsliding sinner, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have served Satan all my days, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have sinned against light, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have sinned against mercy, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.
But I have no good thing to bring with me, say you.
              “I will in no wise cast out,” says Christ.

This promise was provided to answer all objection, and does answer them.

Let the simple lyrics of this song encourage you to come to Jesus. 

Jesus said, if I am weak
I should come to Him
No one else can be my strength
I should come to Him
 
Jesus said that if I fear
I should come to Him
No one else can be my shield
I should come to Him
 
For the Lord is good and faithful
He will keep us day and night
We can always run to Jesus
Jesus, Strong and Kind

Consider Jesus, strong and kind.