Trading Places

Posted on April 2, 2019 by America's Keswick in Freedom Fighters

“And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, ‘If you are willing, You can make me clean.’” — Mark 1:40 (NASB)

Leprosy was no joke in its time in history. Scientists think they have been able to trace this back as far back as 2000 B.C. The first time we see this ugliness recorded in The Bible is in Exodus 4:6. In Leviticus 13:42, God’s people are given the symptoms of leprosy and what to do with the person and the garments of the leper. Your garments were to be burned immediately once you were diagnosed. You were banished from the general population. You were to be covered with rags from head to toe, even in the hot noon sun. Probably the most humiliating thing to do when you were found with this disease is to yell “Unclean! Unclean!” if anyone approached you. Imagine if you had to do this once word got out that you’re a sinner…no one would be excluded, would they?

When we get to the end of the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, we are introduced to a leper. This leper may have heard about what Jesus could do as far as miracles go, but he’ll hear what kind of compassion Jesus has for God’s people because he is outside the city as Jesus gave His infamous Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). It seems he is among the people, and disobedient to The Law because he is NOT yelling, “Unclean, unclean” at the top of his lungs within the multitude that is now following Jesus.

Jesus will have compassion upon this man and says, “I am willing, be cleansed.” Now the thing to note here is that this leper didn’t ask to be healed but to be made clean. Jesus will do that for this man and by doing so Jesus will also violate Levitical Law by touching the leper. Jesus also says to show yourself to the Priest so you can get their okay to rejoin the social order but He’ll also tell him not to say anything about how this happened for him. Which he doesn’t do.

“But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news about it, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.” (Mark 1:45)

Here’s a question for you to ponder this morning…Do you have the kinda faith in Jesus Christ that this leper did? C.H. Spurgeon preached a sermon (that you can find on at where he likens the state of leprosy to that of the state of sin. In this sermon you’ll see Spurgeon point out seven things. One, that this leper’s faith made him eager to be healed. Second, this leper’s faith was strong enough to make him believe that he could be healed of his hideous disease. Thirdly, this man’s faith was fixed on Jesus Christ ALONE. Fourth, this mans faith had respect to a real matter-of-fact cure and fifth, Spurgeon will dismiss if there was any hesitancy to his approaching Jesus. In the sixth and seventh place, this man’s faith had earnest action flowing out of it and it had it reward.

But the thing that sticks out to me in this story of “Jesus cleansing a leper” is that after this leper, who has been cast outside of the city, has been made clean, he disobeys the One who saved him and the One, who also touched him to save him, now has to stay outside the city. Its like they traded places. Sound sorta familiar, doesn’t it? You aren’t picking up what I am putting down? Then I suggest you look to the cross and be reminded that you were also touched and He took your place.

Every so often, I forget the touch by Jesus that stopped a 27-year drug and alcohol addiction. Every so often I forget that I have been touched with the ability to read His Word and write things to encourage His people. Every so often I tend to forget that He took my rightful place upon a Cross of wood and accepted the beating that came before the nails were driven. I also think that I ain’t alone in this either.

This leper may not have done exactly what Jesus told him to do, but he did go out into the known world and proclaim that all he needed to be cleansed was a touch by Jesus. And we can see that, even if Jesus had to stay outside the city, people came to Him because of this man. Don’t be caught yelling, “Unclean! Unclean!” Amen?

Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.

The Daily Bible Reading: Proverbs 27-29, Hebrews 4| You can download our 2018 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here

Daily Quote: “I believe that God is as much glorified by that one sentence of the leper as by the song of Cherubim and Seraphim, when they continually do cry, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.” A sinner’s lips declaring his confident faith in God’s own Son can breathe sonnets unto God more sweet than those of the angelic choirs.” — C.H. Spurgeon

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4 


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