Summary: Jesus touched a leper but He didn't get leprosy, rather the leper got Jesus. Why? Because Jesus was contagious with a strain from Heaven, which, when caught, replicates Jesus in the lives of those who catch it! We need to pass it on!
HOW TO BECOME A CONTAGIOUS CHRISTIAN
1. When you’re a boy, dirt is a good thing. I heard about a “preacher’s kid” who was told by his mother that he should wash his hands because there were germs living in all the dirt he’d been playing in.
2. He looked up at his mother and got this really disgusted look on his face. “Germs? Germs?” He said. “Germs and Jesus! Germs and Jesus! That’s all I ever hear around this house! And I’ve never seen either one!”
3. Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Germs are very real and powerful. The wrong strain of a germ or virus could wipe out the whole world’s population.
4. Jesus is very real too and powerful too, even though you may have never seen Him.
B. SPEED OF VIRUS’ SPREADING
1. HOW FAST CAN A VIRUS SPREAD? FASTER THAN YOU THINK! Contamination of a single doorknob can lead to the spread of viruses throughout an office building or hotel in as little as two hours.
2. Researchers from the University of Arizona, Tuscon, placed a tracer virus on commonly touched objects such as a doorknob or tabletop, and found that between 40 and 60 percent of the surfaces in the building were contaminated within two to four hours.
3. “If we placed a tracer virus on the push plate to an office building, it ended up on almost 50 percent of the high-touch surfaces and office workers’ hands within four hours,” says study author and microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD.
4. That’s why virologists are so concerned about a world outbreak.
5. But today we’re looking at how a man who caught a GOOD germ and see how it totally changed his life.
C. TEXT & THESIS
1. TEXT: Mark 1:40-42
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. 43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.” NIV, 1983.
2. THESIS. I want us to see, First, that Jesus did something highly unusual and unexpected here.
Second, see the results. Third, see what the implications are for us.
3. TITLE: “How to Become a Contagious Christian.”
I. JESUS VIOLATED THE RULES OF DISEASE CONTROL
A. DESCRIPTION OF LEPROSY
a. It is a hideous, disfiguring disease that eats at the skin and extremities of a person. It’s a slow, terminal death.
b. The fingers swell and ulcerate; the nails drop off, the bones separate at the joints until the fingers and toes, and sometimes his hands and feet wither away to nubs.
2. Socially. Lepers become outcasts. They can’t go into cities. In the country they must leave their hair tussled, cover their face with a veil, keep distance from people, and cry “Unclean!, Unclean!” if any approach.
3. Spiritually – symbolic of sin. In scripture, leprosy was punishment sent by God on evil people (Miriam, Ex.12:10),(Uzziah, 2 Chron. 26:21; Gehazi, 2 Kgs. 5:27). It is a frightening symbol of the polluting nature of sin.
B. FAITH OF THE LEPER
1. It was risky to try to pass through a crowd to get to Jesus. He could have been stoned.
2. Ancient Rabbis boasted that they always threw rocks at lepers to keep them away (Edersheim).
C. WHY DID JESUS TOUCH THE LEPER?
1. IT WAS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW OF MOSES for Him to do it.
2. IT WAS UNNECESSARY.
a. He could have just spoken the Word! No prophet ever touched a leper in order to heal him.
b. What was the significance of the touch? It symbolized God’s acceptance of Man; God’s willingness, in His perfection, to touch what’s contaminated - sinful man. Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel painting – God
touching man. It pictures God’s plan.
3. WAS JESUS MADE UNCLEAN BY TOUCHING THE LEPER? Anybody else – YES! Jesus? - No! Rather, Jesus transmitted holiness.
a. In the Old Testament, almost any sacred thing or person who contacted something defiled became ceremonially “unclean.”
b. But one thing transmitted holiness – the ALTAR. Whatever touched it became holy. Jesus has the same effect.