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Summary: With these words jesus shows us so much of the true nature of God: His love, compassion, willingness and reaching out to us.

Jesus¡¦ words: ¡§I am willing, be clean!¡¨ Mk 1:40-45 WBC 22/2/4pm

If you¡¦re a parent here this morning you will relate to the many times our children slip over, or are covered with grime- and come to you crying, wanting 1) a hug 2) to be cleaned up

- remember this with AJ cycling 4 years ago

A hug and touch means so much. (my mum feels the same)

Seriously- it¡¦s incredible that we worship a loving and embracing Father through His Son.

- Jesus¡¦ words and deeds this morning show us that true nature/desire of God

UNCLEAN

The man who comes to Jesus is a leper.

- didn¡¦t always refer to what WE know as leprosy, but could

o social effects were the same- whether you had it or not

LEV 13:45 "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, `Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.

o Social isolation!

„X NOBODY would touch you

„X = torture. We are social animals (cf Archie)

„X 6 foot gap if upwind. More if downwind

„X couldn¡¦t go to temple or into town

Mother Teresa once said "the poorest of the poor are those who feel that they are unloved.

Once a leper , always a leper. Thought incurable (only +ve example up to now is Naaman the Syrian) 2 Ki 5

- shows this man¡¦s faith!

Whole stigma was different to any other illness

- other illnesses = ¡¥healed¡¦

- leprosy= ¡¥cleansed¡¦

o because there¡¦s a horrible unclean barrier between you, God¡¦s people, God¡¦s temple and society

So that¡¦s some of the spiritual and sociological stigmas¡K effects

- but don¡¦t be desensitised to just how physically objectionable it was

o Luke says this man was ¡¥covered all over¡¦ with leprosy

- Raw suppurating flesh. Nerves being eaten away. Digits missing

o (after research in India found that was because rats ate them at night- and they never knew)

- smell

So- get the context, here. In days of no/poor medical care

How would you feel if this person approached you for a hug?

How do we feel GOD feels about us when we come to Him with our stinking rags, unclean behaviour and brokenness?

COMPASSION

Interestingly- there is an old manuscript that has, in v41, ¡¥Jesus was filled with anger and reached out and touched the man¡¦

¡§Oh, yes, that¡¦s what I¡¦d expect from a human! After all¡¨

- the man is violating sacred law. Not allowed in public spaces¡¨

- ¡§the man is in danger of defiling the rabbi. Making Him unclean so He can¡¦t minister. Contaminating Him¡¨

OH NO!

- if ¡¥anger¡¦ is correct, here- it¡¦s not for THOSE reasons

- Jesus reached out and touched Him willingly

- > Jesus¡¦ anger is about the sheer hurt, rejection & brokenness in this man¡¦s life

o = how He reacted when He saw the Kingdom of darkness, Satan¡¦s work. Anger and hatred of it

Before I go on to say that the original word here, most likely, was ¡¥compassion¡¦- let me say something about the word ¡¥sympathy¡¦

- God is not inert¡K immutable¡K when you¡¦re raw, hurt and rejected

- Jesus was never ¡¥remote¡¦ emotionally to those who came to Him

- HE FELT IT TOO!.

o = definition of sym-pathy : ¡¥to feel the hurt, too¡K with them¡¦

o (let us never be frightened to feel with people. To say ¡¥oh heck that hurts. People don¡¦t (necc) want answers- they want to be hugged, have their feelings/fears validated)

Scholars think the word used here is ¡¥compassion¡¦

- similar to sympathy in our language (but from a Latin root meaning to suffer with)

- but the Greek word used for compassion is UNLIKE any other

o and is even more striking in its usage/context

o not much in the Bible about Jesus & disciples¡¦ ¡¥inner world¡¦ (which is the focus of our society!)

„X it IS there- but more concerned with behaviour than feelings

- but here it uses a word of Jesus that literally means ¡¥gut wrenching sympathy¡¦

o has to do with your innards

Spurgeon on ’the word ’compassion’ as used in Mk 1:40

"The Greek word here used, if I were to pronounce it in your hearing, would half suggest its own meaning. It expresses a stirring of the entire being, a commotion in all the inward parts. The heart and all the vitals of the man are in active movement. The saviour was greatly moved. You have seen a man moved, have you not? When a strong man is unable any longer to restrain himself, and is forced to give way to his feelings ... It was just so with the Saviour: his pity moved him, his delight in the leper¡¦s faith mastered him. Oh, to think that a poor leper should have such power over the divine Son of God! Yet, my hearer, in all thy sin and misery, if thou canst believe in Jesus, thou canst move the heart of thy blessed Saviour. Yea, even now his bowels yearn towards thee."

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