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RIDGE CHAPEL,KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: Mark 1:40 2:12
ILL. In my opinion, one of the most beautiful songs in our hymnbooks is #528, entitled "No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus." Notice the words in that first verse:
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus
Since I found in Him a friend so strong & true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely
He did something that no other friend could do.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin & darkness from me
O how much He cared for me!
That is the message of the Gospel writers - of Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John. Jesus knows & cares about us. He knows what is inside us. He knows how we think. He knows when we’re telling the truth & when we’re lying. He knows, despite our facade, who we are & what we really are, & He loves us anyway.
PROP. With that in mind, I want to look at 2 events in the life of Jesus which so clearly show that God knows us, & that He knows our greatest needs.
I. THE CLEANSING OF THE LEPER
The first story is found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, beginning in vs. 40. It tells about a leper who was healed. Listen to Mark 1:40 42. "A man with leprosy came to Him & begged Him on his knees, ’If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand & touched the man. ’I am willing,’ He said. ’Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him & he was cured."
A. Now you have all heard about leprosy, but I imagine that, at the most, only 1 or 2 of us in this room have ever seen someone with that disease. Leprosy in its advanced stages is not a pretty sight. Nodules in a leper’s skin swell & ulcerate. And from those ulcers come a foul smelling odor.
Nerve deterioration often results in loss of fingers & toes, even ears & noses. All of the hair falls off around the eyes, leaving the leper with a perpetual stare. Various parts of the body can swell so much that the leper looks malformed.
No wonder the lepers hid themselves from other people. And whenever a leper would dare come out in the open he had to cry "Unclean! Unclean!" to warn people away because they thought leprosy was contagious & they were very afraid of catching it.
Now, knowing the love & compassion of Jesus, I can easily understand Him healing this man of his leprosy. But why did Jesus reach out & touch him?
I mean, all Jesus had to do was say the word, & the man would have been healed. He had that power! Jesus didn’t have to touch him. But He deliberately reached out & touched the leper!
Remember, according to the law, when Jesus touched him Jesus became unclean, too. But Jesus went ahead & did it anyway. Why?
I think it was because Jesus was giving him a gift he would never forget. There is something special about human touch that communicates friendship & concern & even love. But in that day no one else would ever dare to come close to a leper. So when Jesus actually reached out & touched him, that must have been a very emotional moment that the leper would remember forever.
B. And consider this.
- Miracles of Jesus
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