A Heart for Jesus, Week 5 (Mark 1:40-45)

The heart of the Christmas season is celebrating the life of Jesus Christ. In His life, we see the identity of Jesus Christ on display. Jesus came to change our hearts for Him. How does the life of Jesus change our hearts for Jesus? Each Friday throughout the month of December, Esther St John will walk us through Mark 1 to help our hearts see Jesus. In this post, Esther walks us through Mark 1:40-45.

The Authority of Jesus

In last week’s passage we saw Jesus’s life marked by prayer and the preaching of the gospel. Even as the Son of God, He modeled prayer for us, so that we could learn from Him and do the same. Jesus was obedient in fulfilling His calling and did it dependent upon God the Father for strength and boldness.

Jesus’s Cleansing

Cleaning around the house is not everyone’s favorite task. Picking up and putting stuff away may be relaxing for some and stressful for others. Sometimes it depends on our mood. We know we could get it done in the moment or wait until later, but the truth is that we are not always willing. This is not the case for Jesus. The type of cleansing He did could not be done by anyone else. In this week’s passage we see a leper coming to Jesus and asking for cleansing.

Examine the Text:

  • Read Mark 1:40. What was the attitude the leper had when he approached Jesus for help? 
  • What does the leper’s petition “if you will, you can make me clean” say about Jesus’s authority?

Jesus had compassion on the leper and willingly cleansed him. The leprosy left the man’s body, taking away not only the physical pain but the public shame leprosy brought with it. This man was made free in every way possible. He was welcomed back into the community that once rejected him because of his sickness. 

The leper likely heard the preaching of Jesus. He probably saw Jesus performing miracles in other’s lives. The leper knew Jesus had authority to do it. That’s why he trusted and asked. His cleansing was physical, but the ultimate cleansing Jesus provided to him and provides us cleanses our hearts. Jesus cleanses us from our sins and shame. He welcomes us into a new family through His blood.

Apply to Life:

  •  What are some ways you tend to “clean” yourself instead of trusting in the gospel of grace and the cleansing power of Jesus? Why not repent of that now and ask the Lord to help you trust in His cleansing power?

Jesus commands 

After having mercy on the leper and healing him, He charged him not to say anything to anyone but to go and show himself to the priest and present an offering for his cleansing as Moses had commanded him to do. This would make his cleansing official so that he could be reestablished into the community and be forgiven (Leviticus 4:2-32). 

Jesus’s command was clear. He was not to tell anyone what happened but to simply go to the priest. The leper’s disobedience caused people to want to come to Jesus for miracles and He could no longer enter the city to preach the gospel. He went to desolated places instead. 

Examine the Text:

Read John 6:1-3 and Mark 1:45

  • According to these texts, why was the crowd following Jesus? 
  • Why was Jesus withdrawing from the crowd and looking for desolated places? 

The main purpose of Jesus’s ministry on earth was to preach the gospel and save sinners from eternal condemnation. This is important because it helps us better understand and desire to know and follow Jesus for who He is rather than to see and/or receive His healing.

Apply to Life:  

  • Why are you following Jesus?  
  • How are you examining your heart when things don’t go the way you desire?
  • Will you still follow Jesus even if He doesn’t answer your prayers according to your will? How can you show that?

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