Summary: We may come to Jesus hoping and expecting for a particular need to be met; but he also wants to meet a deeper need - the cleansing of our heart.
Scripture Text: Mark 1.40-45
His name was Naaman. He was a leader; …a valiant-soldier; …a warrior. He was a great-man, who commanded the respect of everyone who knew him.
But, he had two-strikes against-him. As-a-matter-of-fact,…it’s absolutely startling that we know anything-at-all about him! The first-strike against-him was the fact that he was a foreigner… a Gentile. He was an Aramean and that meant – …as-far-as the Israelites were concerned ~ …that meant that he was an outsider; …Naaman was not one of God’s-people. It also-meant, that sometimes, his nation would-sometimes war with Israel ~ …so it’s absolutely-remarkable that he’s included in the Old Testament.
The other strike-he-had against-him, …the other-strike was that he was a leper. In the ancient-world, …leprosy struck fear in everyone. It was a terrible-disease. And-because they didn’t have a good-understanding of how leprosy was passed on ~ …the only thing that people knew-to-do, …was to fear-lepers and to force them to live in isolation from everyone else.
Apparently, Naaman was such a valiant-warrior, though, …that the King of the Arameans made-allowances for Naaman to continue as the commander of his army.
For the sake-of-time, I need to give-you-the-short version of Naaman’s story. But, I wanna encourage you to read the whole-thing in 2 Kings, chapter 5. But, Naaman was told to go to the Israelite prophet Elisha; …because, some-believed that Elisha might-be-able to-heal Naaman. He went. But, when he got there, Elisha didn’t-even come-to-meet him at the front-door! Elisha simply sent-word to Naaman, …to go-down to the Jordan River and dip-himself-in-the-water seven-times.
That’s it! Easy-skeezy! But, Naaman took-offense! He thought that Elisha was toying-with-him. He expected a show! He expected a lot of hoops to jump through. But, Elisha said to simply-go and dip-himself in the Jordan siete beces (seven times)!
Naaman threw a perfect fit! He was ready to storm-away ~ …except-for-the-fact that cooler-heads prevailed. His servants basically-told-him, “Don’t get so-bent-outta-shape!” If he’d been told to climb some mountain, he’d have put on his hiking boots. If Elisha had told him to hold his breath underwater for 3 minutes, …he’d have done it for 4. If Elisha had commanded him to burn his clothes and offer a bull on the altar-of-sacrifice, ….Naaman would have offered two!
But, since all-he-was-told to-do, …was to-dip in the Jordan seven times, …Naaman was ticked-off and just-about stormed-away. But, cooler-heads-prevailed.
And-so, Naaman went down to the Jordan, put one-foot-in-front of-the-other, …and baptized-himself, seven-times. And when he arose out of the water – after-that-seventh-dip – …when he stood-up out of the water the seventh-time, …his flesh was clean! No-more-leprosy! No-more disease, …no-more scabs and seething-sores. Healed. Restored. Given a new-lease-on-life! Naaman was beside-himself ~ …he said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel!”