Class Notes: 6/26/2013

Mark 1:35-44; Jesus moves away from the crowds and heals a leper as a message to the priests


In our study of Mark we are now in Mark 1:34; where we see Jesus healing the people of Capernaum who showed up at Peter's door and when demons were exorcised they were not permitted to speak.

As we have seen, the demons had no standing to say anything because they are liars. Jesus did not permit them to speak because of this and He also wanted the people to determine who He was from their own free volition and their understanding of the prophecies but with very few exceptions they did not recognize him.

They only came for the miracles.... the dog and pony show... or what they could get from him.

This is ritual without reality. Rigid inflexible conformance to the ritual of the Mosaic and rabbinic Law in their observance of the Sabbath but no recognition of the Lord God who wrote it and who is revealed by it.

This is a perfect example of religious tyranny where people think that their association with some religious group and obedience to their rules can save them but they are never absolutely sure.

Too much of the church is involved with this same kind of ritual without reality and it is one of the reasons why our nation is sliding into the cesspool of demon influence and divine discipline.

Mark 1:35; We see here that following that busy Sabbath Day in Capernaum Jesus got up very early a great while before sunrise and withdrew Himself into a solitary place, and there spent time in prayer.

Since it was still dark it was very early morning and Jesus left His sleeping disciples, and went out of the house, and found a deserted place.

Once there He was praying The Greek word "proseucheto" translated "praying" is in the imperfect tense (Net note 66) conveying the idea that "He was continuing to pray," and since it was early He was there a fairly long time before his disciples found Him.

Mark 1:36-37; The crowds had returned to Simon's door and expected to find Jesus there but discovered He was gone so Simon and his companions went out to look for Him The Greek word " katadioko" literally means "to hunt Him down."

When they found Him they exclaimed "Everyone is looking for You!" implying with some annoyance that they thought Jesus was failing to capitalize on the excellent opportunities in Capernaum.

Their idea was to recognize Him as King and try to force the issue of a break with the Roman Government. They did not understand that there could be no kingdom without the cross.

Mark 1:38-39; Jesus' reply showed that they did not understand Him or His mission. His plan was to go elsewhere to the nearby villages, populous market towns, so that He could preach there in addition to Capernaum. So instead of going back to see those who came to be healed or see the miracles He said, "Let us go into the next town."

His explanatory statement was I have come "to preach", refers to His coming from God on a divine mission. His purpose was to proclaim "the good news of God" (Mark 1:14;) and confront people with the command to "change their minds and believe it." (Mark 1:15;).

Since the crowds in Capernaum only saw Him as a Miracle-worker, He deliberately left them to preach elsewhere.

Mark 1:39; summarizes His tour throughout Galilee that probably lasted several weeks. His main activity was preaching in the local synagogues, and His driving out demons dramatically validated His message.

We see from this that in spite of his busy schedule and the demands and expectations that his disciples and the crowds placed on Him, Jesus always made time for communion with the Father through prayer and that because of this that He always had his priorities right.

He refused to allow Himself to be pulled out of sequence with his Father's priorities, objectives and timing. He understood the principle that the need does not constitute the call. The Lord Jesus only had about three years of ministry on earth and He could have been totally frustrated by the overwhelming needs he saw, but He never was.

He was very busy and often exhausted at the end of the day, but His life was never rushed. He always had time to love and help people, sometimes spending an extended time with just one person like the woman at the well. He accepted interruptions in His schedule as God's opportunities.

He cared deeply about people and their hurts. He was full of compassion, but for every hundred he healed, there were thousands He did not heal. This was not because He did not care it was because He knew the need did not constitute the call.

He constantly walked in dependence upon the Father and His time and ministry were regulated by the Father's will. His prayer maintained the regulation.

In our passage from Mark 1:32-39; we see that there were tremendous needs and that the people were clamoring for His ministry. Everyone was looking for Him, but He was never driven simply by the needs or by His own compassion or abilities or sense of importance, even though He was the Son of God.

Instead, He prioritized His life: He put first things first. He took time to get alone with the Father (verse 35), He sought the Father's will and enablement from the standpoint of His humanity, He and did the Father's will.

He conducted his life on the basis of doctrine not on the basis of emotion.

Simon's behavior in this passage is typical of many people and provides us with a good example of the problem. While Simon never would have thought of the Lord as uncaring, the implication is that Simon saw the Lord's absence and His time alone in prayer as unproductive, and possibly even as a sign of wrong priorities when in reality it was just the opposite.

Simon only saw the needs and the advantage they presented through emotion, but Jesus saw the needs through the Father's will (doctrine). Simon was impressed by a sense of importance because so many people were flocking to the Lord and His disciples. Simon was driven by a desire for visible results that would be measured by the number of people healed, but the Lord was not.

Jesus was certainly burdened with all the pain that He saw in the community. He certainly took this to the Father in his prayer but the result of His time in prayer was to walk away from the people's physical needs and continue on to the nearby towns to preach the Gospel because as he said " that is what I came for."

He knew God's will for His life and He refused to be deterred no matter how much He was burdened by the needs that were all around Him. For Him it was a matter of the priorities of God's will. He conducted his life on the basis of doctrine. 2Cor 5:7;

Just before the cross, at the close of the ministry of His unglorified humanity, even though the world was still full of people with unfulfilled needs, He prayed, "I glorified You on the earth, having completed the work that You have given Me to do" (John 17:4;). God had given Him enough time to do what He had called Him to do and that was what mattered.

It should be the same for the church. Even though filling needs is helpful, the church must remember who it is, where it is and what it is here for and not let the fulfilling of the needs of the world constitute the call.

We must remember that we are the Royal Family of God who are citizens of heaven. We are exiles, sojourners, and aliens in the devil's world. This means that we must adopt and maintain a different attitude toward our time on earth and what we do with our time is different than what those who are of the world do with their time.

We also must remember where we are. We are in the devil's world in a time of darkness. It is an evil age that is passing away. Everything in this world is designed to ensnare, entrap and deceive us so we make the things of this world our ultimate objective.

And we must recognize why we are here. We are here as ambassadors of Christ (2Cor 5:20;) called to a worldwide mission of making disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

Our mission is to evangelize the lost and teach doctrine to believers to the glory of God. Any needs that are fulfilled in that process are not an end but simply a means to an end.

Mark 1:39; so Jesus left Capernaum and traveled to the other towns in Galilee to preach the Gospel message and present his credentials as their Saviour, Messiah and King.

Mark 1:40; While Jesus was preaching in the towns around Galilee, a man with leprosy came to Him. "Leprosy" included a variety of serious skin diseases ranging from ringworm to true leprosy (Hanson's bacillus), that is a progressively disfiguring disease.

This man experienced a pitiful existence that was not only due to the physical ravages of the disease but also to the ritual uncleanness that came along with it.

Lev 13:1-59; is the passage where we have the subject of leprosy and how the priest examined the patient and found him "unclean." The clinical procedure for a cured leper was specified in Lev 14:1-57;

The Rabbis regarded leprosy as incurable. There are only two times in the Old Testament record that God cleansed a leper (Num.12:10-15; 2Kings 5:1-14;).

We see from this that Leprosy is a hopeless disease and it was especially hopeless at the time in which this occurred. It is a perfect illustration of the hopelessness of man in the status of spiritual death and sin so it serves as a perfect illustration of sin and it's consequences and how mankind can do nothing about it.

The priests of Israel used Lev 13; all of the time because they frequently had cases of leprosy so there was a constant use of that chapter. But as far as we know Lev 14; was not used except in the case of Miriam and Naaman.

It was not used because no one was cured. Both of the exceptions were miracles. In this case Jesus is going to cure this leper to send him to the priesthood.

The priesthood had already pronounced that this man was a leper and they had recorded him as a leper and he was under quarantine. If he was healed he had to go back to them to be erased from the leper records before he could be allowed back into society.

Of course the priests would want to know how he was cured since it had never happened in hundreds of years and then they would have to record Jesus' miracle.

This leper was convinced that Jesus could cleanse him. Without presumption (If You are willing) and without doubting Jesus' ability (You can make me clean), he humbly bowed down on his knees and begged Jesus to heal him.

This man recognized Jesus as the Saviour, Messiah and King so he was a believer in Jesus Christ so he bows before Him and says "if," and this is a third class condition, "if you are willing." In other words, "it is in your hands." The third class condition recognizes the sovereignty of God in the matter.

This leper is willing to go either way. If the Lord wants to heal him he knows that He can and he will be thankful for it, but if He doesn't want him to be healed he knows that the Lord has a purpose for the leprosy and so he will fulfill the principle of "in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

"If you are willing" refers to Jesus' sovereignty and omnipotence: You have the power; "You can make me clean if you will", It was up to Jesus to make him whole, or to "cleanse" him by the removal of leprosy.

Mark 1:41; Moved by compassion, ("having deep empathy"), Jesus touched the untouchable and cured the incurable. His touch showed that Jesus was not restrained by the Rabbinic regulations regarding ritual uncleanness.

Jesus' symbolic touch and authoritative pronouncement- I am willing (present tense), be clean (aorist tense passive voice) constituted the cure. It was immediate, complete, and clearly visible to all who saw him.

Jesus demonstrates His power over disease by healing the hopeless case of leprosy; "and touched him." You do not normally touch a leper but He touched the leper; "saying, I will."

I have a purpose for your being healed. There were thousands of lepers in that part of the world and Jesus only healed a few. Does this mean that He was remiss when He overlooked the rest? And they were hard to overlook because in the ancient middle east they were everywhere.

The point is: whenever Jesus Christ healed someone it had a purpose. Jesus was not remiss in His duty. He didn't come to heal people, He came to save, He came to present Himself as Saviour, Messiah and King.

Those who were saved had to have positive volition to from their own free volition choose to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. These acts of healing were all designed to focus on the unique person of Christ, and the uniqueness of His person leads to the uniqueness of His work, and through this a person can identify Christ as Saviour.

So the purpose of healing was not to alleviate suffering but to focus attention on the Lord Jesus Christ.

"I am willing; be cleansed" the aorist tense tells us that he would never get leprosy again. He would be clean "once and for all". Just as believers are saved "once and for all " Acts 16:31;

In other words, when this man died physically it would not be from leprosy .Mark 1:42; And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed."

Mark 1:43; Jesus had no desire to be perceived as simply as a miracle worker so He warned him not to tell anyone of what had happened.

Mark 1:44; Jesus then instructed the former leper to show himself to the priest, who was the only one who could declare him ritually clean, remove the quarantine, and to offer the sacrifices prescribed by Moses Law in Lev 14:2-31;

By doing this Jesus was sending a message to the priesthood telling them that the Saviour, Messiah and King is here. That Jesus has now fulfilled all of the Old Testament passages regarding the first advent.

So he tells the leper: "say nothing to anyone." The reason Jesus does this is because the man is excited because he has just been healed. He is anxious to go and tell everyone: "Look I'm cleansed!!!!!"

Jesus tells him to forget all that "go show yourself to the priest" So the cleansed leper is a message from Jesus Christ to the priesthood. " I'm here!!!!!"

"Show yourself to the priests" is in keeping with the mandate in Lev 14; A cleansed leper under the law of Moses must go to the priest, he must show himself, he must be examined, and after he is pronounced clean his name is erased from the leprosy rolls then he must offer a special sacrifice, the two birds of Lev 14:4; "and offer the gift that Moses commanded as a testimony to the priests.

God has a purpose in directing us and He has a reason for each one of us to remain on this earth. We are left here in order to witness for Jesus Christ and to make Him known.

The only way to do this is to do it the way the Lord says to do it and the Bible is filled with specific instructions and mechanics for how to do it. You start by learning the relevant doctrine, then communicate in your own location.

Jesus doesn't send this man out to give a "glowing testimony." He sends him to the priests because this is where the message had to be sent first.. You have to start at the place where it is important and the priests are to have the first opportunity to accept or reject Jesus as the Saviour, Messiah and King.

Mark 1:44;This is why the command is qualified by the phrase "as a testimony to them." This phrase could be understood in a positive sense as "a convincing witness," or in a negative sense as "an incriminating witness." to either the people in general or the priests in particular. Net note 82

In this context, the negative sense is probable so the "testimony" means an item of proof that can serve as incriminating evidence against you.

The cleansing of the leper was an undeniable messianic sign that God was working in a new way. If the priests declared the leper clean but reject Jesus who was the One who cleansed him, their unbelief would be incriminating evidence against them and they will be under condemnation because as the priests they were responsible to have known better.

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