Jesus is willing. Are you willing?
In Mark 1:40-45 we see a chain of events that moves from the Leper’s request, to Jesus granting the request, then to Jesus’ request, and to the Leper’s disobedience.
Is the Leper’s behavior reminiscent of our behavior?
A request is made and granted by Jesus that is, by God. The Leper’s response was to ignore or disobey Jesus’ request for whatever reason. Do we behave in the same way as the Leper?
For whatever reason the Leper chose to do what Jesus asked him not to do. He chose not to listen to Jesus. Now it could be because he was overwhelmed with excitement at being cleansed. He was beyond joy and happiness as he was now no longer considered an outsider. Let us be honest – the Leper had been given life again. He was a new being … a resurrected being. I can only imagine the joy … the relief … the freedom in being healed. Where the joy overcomes one’s ability to think clearly or to listen clearly. Jesus made a simple and easy request to go and show yourself to the priest as required in the Law/Torah and do as required. Instead of listening to Jesus’ request he ignores it to the detriment of Jesus. Jesus can no longer remain in his current location and preach, heal, or be engaged with the people because expectations have changed.
As I try to understand the Leper’s response (which is our response), I am reminded of Martin Luther’s formula “simul justus et peccator.” Simul is the Latin word from which we get the English word simultaneously, meaning “at the same time.” Justus is the Latin word for “just” or “righteous.” And you all know what et is. No, it is not “have you had your dinner?” It simply means “and.” Peccator means “sinner.”
With this formula, Martin Luther was saying that in our justification we are one and at the same time righteous/just and sinners. Luther was saying from one perspective we are just or in the Leper’s situation healed. In another sense, from another perspective we are sinners (Leper’s disobedience). So in and of ourselves, under God’s scrutiny we still have sin. But, by faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ in his crucifixion, death, and resurrection we are just or righteous.
What does this all mean?
At the end of the day through Jesus Christ we have spiritual and physical healing.
At the end of the day we are not forgotten.
At the end of the day we are loved.