‘Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone.” Mark 1.43-44
When we read the story of the man who was healed of leprosy, it comes across as a beautiful story about the heart and power of Jesus – a real glimpse of the person of Jesus.
After healing the man, Jesus commanded him not to speak about his healing, but this had no effect whatsoever as the man went off and talked all about it! As a result, Jesus was unable to enter any of the towns. There are a number of possible reasons for this. If the man who had been a leper had said that Jesus had touched him, then Jesus himself would have been regarded as unclean – perhaps some might have been frightened that Jesus himself now had leprosy. Another reason that Jesus could not enter a town might have been because the expectations upon him from those seeking healing would have been so great that he wouldn’t have been able to teach or rest.
Whatever the reason, Jesus had to remain outside and yet still we read that people came to him. They had their needs that they wanted to bring to him. There is no indication that Jesus minded, but the question that hovers over all this is – who looked after Jesus’ needs? We don’t often think about Jesus having needs, but he too needed to eat, rest and sleep.
Actually he still has needs. Jesus loves us and longs for relationship with us; perhaps it is not too much to say that he needs human relationships. He is not a detached king reigning from a distant kingdom, but instead promised to make his home with us and never to leave us. What an amazing opportunity for us to give him a beautiful gift.
As you are about to pray, take a moment to ponder the gift of relationship you are about to give to Jesus. Catch something of his pleasure and delight in you.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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