The Reading of the Word

This morning, we continue in the Gospel of Mark, as we come to Mark 1:40-45.

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

1:40 And a leper came to him [that is, Jesus], imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

This is the word of the Lord.  (Thanks be to God.)

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

Let’s pray …

Prayer of Illumination

Lord, we know that those who walk in the ways of your word are blessed –

those who keep your testimonies

and seek you with their whole heart.

Lord, make our ways steadfast

in keeping your statutes.

Keep us from dishonoring your name,

by fixing our eyes now on your Word.

Teach us the way of righteousness,

so that we might praise you with upright hearts.

Grant this for Jesus’s sake. Amen.

[Based on Psalm 119:1-2, 5-7]


On its face this story can seem like another simple account of a healing performed by Jesus. But there’s actually a lot more going on here that we can tend to miss on a superficial reading.

So this morning, I want to go through the narrative step by step, and as we do, we will see four things – we’ll see the problem, the appeal, the response, and the deeper cost.

The Problem: “A Leper Came to Him”

So first, the problem. That we come to in the very first phrase, in verse twenty-four. There we read: “And a leper came to him.”

A leper comes to Jesus.

And to understand what follows, we need to understand the significance of biblical leprosy in Israel at that time. And that might take a little work, because there is often a lot of misunderstanding about what the leprosy referred to here was, and why it mattered.

So we need to begin with what the primary concerns with biblical leprosy were not.

First, the primary concern with the leprosy described here was not medical.

As many modern commentators point out, the leprosy described in the Bible was not Hansen’s disease. Hansen’s disease is a long-term bacterial infection that can damage the nerves, respiratory tract, eyes, and skin. In addition to other effects on the skin, it can also lead to a person’s extremities becoming deformed, and paralyzed, and even falling off, due to repeated unperceived injuries as nerve damage leads to an inability to feel pain. [Suzuki]

All of that makes Hansen’s disease a deforming and debilitating disease. And many people, when they read of leprosy in the Bible assume that it’s Hansen’s disease that’s being described – an assumption reinforced by portrayals like in the movie Ben-Hur. [Thomsen]

But this link is in fact wrong.

As scholars now explain, the Hebrew and Greek terms translated as “leprosy” in our Bibles are used “to cover a variety of human diseases” as well as mold on fabrics or on the wall of a house. And the range of conditions this might describe is not limited to the Bible, but it is also seen in classical Greek in general. So it describes a number of conditions. That said, none of the conditions we find in the Biblical descriptions of leprosy “is identifiable with Hansen’s disease. Whether or not Hansen’s disease existed in ancient Israel is disputed.” But “the biblical terms, where they refer to human diseases, probably cover psoriasis, lupus, ringworm and favus” rather than Hansen’s disease. [Ellingworth, 463; see also Leithart, “Myths of Purity”; Horne, 46; France, 116; Sacks, 187]

In other words, while there is, of course, a medical component to the skin conditions labeled “leprosy” in Leviticus 13 & 14, along with the rest of the Bible, it is not a description of modern leprosy, or Hansen’s disease. And so, along with that, the analysis of how to identify leprosy and what restrictions were placed on a leper in the Bible were not about public health.

Which means that the leper who comes to Jesus here comes with a medical condition, but his primary concern is not his physical health.

Second, the primary problem for the leper coming to Jesus is also not social.

In most people’s imaginations the next strongest association we have with leprosy is that of social exclusion and isolation. And while there were elements of this, the picture in the time of the Bible is also more complicated than that.

Once again, many of our concepts of exclusion for lepers come out of what we see in how other cultures respond to Hansen’s disease, what we see in (often inaccurate) movies depicting biblical times, and what we read about how Medieval Europe treated lepers (and even those depictions about the Middle Ages are now somewhat disputed [Strickland]).

The Bible itself gives one direct indication of social exclusion. In Leviticus 13:46 we read that someone ruled to be unclean through leprosy had to live alone outside the camp. But some scholars have pointed out that this ruling seems specified to the situation when Israel was encamped around the tabernacle, and may have been limited to that time when Israel was living unusually close to the tabernacle in the wilderness, and may not have applied the same way when the people were living in the land and further away from the tabernacle. [Leithart, “Myths of Purity”; see also Milgram, Leviticus 1-16, 909-910 where this distinction is made more overt in the case of a discharge.] Other scholars assume that lepers continued to be excluded from the community in the land, but even then, their argument is based largely on the Bible’s silence about how a leper’s ceremonial uncleanness could be transmitted to others. [Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, 910]

Interestingly, the Mishna, a collection of rabbinic teachings and discussions coming out of the first two centuries A.D., explains how with the use of a partition, a leper could continue to attend the synagogue. [m. Negaim 13.12]

In a lot of ways, this all leaves more questions than answers about the social standing of a leper in first century Israel – at least in my mind. But one thing that seems to become more clear is that while there was certainly a social element to the effects of biblical leprosy, the social element was not primary in the Bible.

What, then, in the Bible, was the primary effect of biblical leprosy on the leper?

The primary effect of biblical leprosy was that it symbolically separated the leper from the presence of God.

The Old Testament gave Israel a symbolic system by which people could become ceremonially clean and ceremonially unclean. And biblical leprosy was a way that a person could be made ceremonially unclean, and so could not enter the special presence of God in the Jewish temple.

Now, that might seem odd to us. We might wonder why God would do that – why he would say that certain things, which could come upon a person through no fault of their own – would render them unable to enter God’s special presence in the temple.

But to better understand this, we need to consider a few things.

First, we need to consider that every person has a cultural lens that sees certain things as clean or unclean. In our scientific culture we often flatter ourselves that our perspective is based on medical data. But often it’s not.

Think, for example, of finding a hair in your food. People find that “gross.” They might gag or lose their appetite. But what do we mean by “gross” in this context? We don’t mean that it’s any medical threat. As one science writer has explained, unless you eat a whole lot of it, consuming human hair is not a health threat. In fact, it’s so benign that the FDA doesn’t even regulate how much of it can be present in our food. And the FDA has never received a report of a person getting sick from “ingesting hair found in food.” [Zapana] Yet to find a single human hair on our plate at a restaurant often disgusts people. We respond in a similar way to the idea of eating dog meat, or bugs. And we similarly can have an urge to recoil from touching certain severe skin conditions on a person, even when we’ve been told it is not contagious.

In other words, we have categories of things that we know are not dangerous for us, but which still repel us. In our minds, often in a way we never articulate, there are symbolic ways we view the world, and we have a gut reaction that those things do not belong in certain contexts, and when those contexts are wrong, we react negatively. This is true of people in every culture, including us. [Leithart, “What to Do with the Bible’s Purity Laws”]

That’s the first thing we need to consider.

Second, God has used this reality in the history of his people to point them to spiritual truths.

By which we don’t mean that God noticed we view the world symbolically and took advantage of that fact in history, but that God designed us to view the world symbolically, and while human beings on their own may develop arbitrary or even false ways of viewing the world symbolically, God instituted with Israel a way of viewing the world symbolically that taught spiritual truth.

The Apostle Paul tells us this in Galatians. In the Bible, while God’s covenant of grace remains the same, the way God relates to his people from one age of redemptive history to another can be different. In Galatians 4:1 Paul explains that during the period of ancient Israel, God’s people, as a community, were more like children – and in Galatians 3:24 he explains that the law – meaning especially the ceremonial law – was to act like a tutor for children. [Jordan, 199; Leithart, “What to Do with the Bible’s Purity Laws”] It was to be a teacher, helping God’s covenant community learn the reality of how they related to God.

And it did this in a number of areas of life by symbolically categorizing things as ceremonially clean or ceremonially unclean, and also as holy or common. And these two divisions were not the same thing, but when brought together they created a larger spectrum, with three broad categories for this symbolic world: there were things that were unclean, things that were clean and common, and then things that were holy. And even within the categories of unclean and holy there were gradations. Some forms of ceremonial uncleanness spread uncleanness while others did not, and some spread it more easily than others. Similarly, within the category of holy, there were things that were holy, and things that were “most holy”. [Alexander, 204-215; see also Leithart, Delivered from …, 99 n.16; Leithart. “Purity and Holiness”]

Simply put, holiness is associated with the presence of God – and the closer something was to God’s special presence the more holy it was.

On the other hand, ceremonial uncleanness was associated with symbolically being excluded from the presence of God, and the more the thing signified was contrary to God’s presence the more unclean the symbol was.

Now, a number of rationales have been proposed for explaining why certain things were declared unclean in this symbolic system. And it’s beyond our scope this morning to get into them in detail, or in each area of life. But for our purposes this morning I’ll say that when it comes to conditions that make human beings unclean, the common theme seems to be an actual or a symbolic link to sin or death.

That doesn’t mean that actual sin or actual death were needed to make something unclean – the link was often symbolic. A person could often become unclean without sinning, and in fact, obedience to God’s commands could make someone unclean. But the state of ceremonial uncleanness would remind God’s people that even good things which God has commanded are now tainted by sin because we ourselves, as humans, are sinful. And so, in Mark 7[:14-23] and Matthew 15[:11], Jesus explains how aspects of ceremonial uncleanness were meant to point to the true uncleanness of sin.

Other things that made people unclean were primarily associated with death, serving as a sign and a reminder that even in the midst of the blessings of this life, fallen humanity remains under the power of death.

Within this symbolic system, leprosy, as a visible sign of decay on the skin, became such a symbol of death. [Milgrom, “The Rationale …”, 109-110; Leithart, Delivered from … 101; Sacks, 26] We see this in Numbers 12:12, where Aaron speaks of Miriam’s leprosy and compares her body to a corpse.

So holiness symbolizes the presence of God. Ceremonial uncleanness symbolizes the reality of sin and death and so the exclusion from the presence of God. And then the common but clean was in the middle. And it had the potential to become unclean on the one hand, or to approach the holy and the presence of God on the other hand. Meanwhile, the unclean and the holy had an active and antagonistic relationship with one another. Each could influence the common. And when the unclean and holy interacted, one could transform the other, or one could destroy the other. [Milgrom, 976-979; Alexander, 212-213; Leithart, Delivered from … 100-101]

And all of these symbolic categories and dynamics were applied to all sorts of areas of life, to give God’s people a picture of the deeper spiritual realities that permeated all of human life, about the nature of sin and death on the one hand, the nature of God’s presence on the other hand, and the fact that we live much of our lives in between these two forces.

But we need to keep in mind that this system was a sign that pointed to spiritual realities, but it was not the reality itself. A person might become ceremonially unclean without committing any particular sin, and while his ceremonial uncleanness might exclude him from the temple, it did not mean he was not a faithful Israelite, and it never placed him outside of God’s love.

Still, that kind of exclusion might seem harsh to us. Why would God keep someone outside of his special presence in the temple for such symbolic or pedagogical reasons?

Yet, if that is the main question that comes to mind, it means that we have missed what was truly striking about this whole system. What was truly striking was that drawing close to a holy God was possible at all.

Yes, one aspect of the Levitical law was about the exclusion of sin and death from God’s presence – both in reality and in symbolic forms. But the second aspect of the Levitical law sets up a system by which God will purify his people through the tabernacle system and the priests, so that they can draw close to God anyway.

And that is the emphasis we should note. The Levitical laws did not create exclusions from God’s presence – those were already there since humanity rebelled against God and sin and death entered the world and permeated our lives. The Levitical system acknowledges this fact in reality, and it helps Israel to remember it in a system of symbols. But then it publicizes how Israel can approach God in safety. It lays out conditions that make it safe for even fallen human beings to approach the special presence of God. And this is seen both in the forgiveness of sins, and the removal of ceremonial uncleanness within the Levitical system. [Leithart, Delivered from … 98]

With all of that said, we need to finally ask, practically speaking, what were the effects of being unclean in the life of an Israelite?

One biblical theologian writes: “Becoming unclean only meant one thing: You were not permitted to go into the forecourt of the Tabernacle [or Temple] and bring a sacrifice. Since most forms of uncleanness only lasted a day or a week, it was no real burden to be unclean. Second, if you were seriously unclean, you could make other people unclean for a few hours (until sundown) if you touched them; but again, that was only a matter of concern if the other person were on his way to offer a sacrifice. At most, being unclean was an inconvenience. Of course, if you were unclean for months on end, and could not attend festivals, it became a more serious matter.” [Jordan, 200-201; see also Leithart, Delivered from …, 97-98; Horne, 46]

“If you were unclean for months on end, and could not attend festivals, it became a more serious matter.”

And leprosy was one of those more serious matters.

The uncleanness of leprosy could go on for a long time. The uncleanness of leprosy could, in some circumstances, continue for the rest of one’s life. It was not easily removed. It might never be removed in this life. Which added certain burdens to the life of the Israelite with biblical leprosy.

One burden was social. We see in some sources that the rabbinic tradition in the first centuries A.D. saw the uncleanness of leprosy as spreading easily [m. Negam, 13.7,11,12]. As we said, becoming unclean was not a major burden most of the time, and we don’t want to exaggerate it, as many have. But there still would have been some social burden that came with this.

But still it was not the primary burden. The primary burden was religious.

The leper could not come to the temple. He could not offer sacrifices there. He could not gather with the people of God for the festivals three times a year.

This didn’t mean that the leper was assumed to be an unbeliever – not at all. He could have a true saving faith just as any Israelite could. But in the symbolic and ceremonial system of Israel’s life he was a picture of sin and death that was excluded from the special presence of God. And that would have had a real impact on his life.

And that is what we should have in the forefront of our minds when we read the opening of our passage in verse forty: “And a leper came to him.” That’s the first thing we need to see: we need to understand the real nature of the problem.

With all that in mind, let’s now continue through the rest of the passage.

The Appeal: “If You Will, You Can Make Me Clean”

The second thing we see is the appeal. We read in verse forty: “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’”

Now, once again, there are a few things to note here if we are to grasp rightly the nature of the leper’s appeal.

First, it is an appeal for cleansing, not healing.

Now, the cleansing will, of course, require a physical healing. But the emphasis is not on a medical need, it is on a desire for a ceremonial cleansing, and the restored access to the ceremonial presence of God that would come with that.

As one commentator points out: “There is no reference to ‘healing’ [in this passage], but there are four references to ‘cleansing’; in [just] six verses.” [Edwards, 69]

So, that helps us see first the emphasis in what the leper is asking for. The emphasis is on a desire to draw close to God in ceremonial worship again.

Second, we should note the content of the leper’s faith. And there are three things to note about what this leper believed about Jesus.

First, this leper believed that Jesus was greater than the Levitical priesthood.

What do I mean by that?

Well, the handling of biblical leprosy was entrusted to the priesthood in Israel. [Horne, 46] But this leper has come not to the priests, but to Jesus.

But it’s not just that the leper has come to Jesus as a replacement for the priests. He has come to Jesus to ask for something greater than what the priests were able to do for him.

When it came to leprosy, the priests were not able to remove the leprosy or make a leper clean again. All they could do was to merely observe the skin according to the criteria in Leviticus, and then declare whether the person before them was clean or unclean. [Edwards, 71; Ellington, 463]

But the leper does not ask Jesus for a diagnosis. He asks Jesus to make him clean.

The leper believes that Jesus is greater than the priesthood.

But then second, the leper also believes that Jesus is greater than the temple. Because again, dealing with lepers was something that fell under the jurisdiction of the temple. [Leithart, “Ten Lepers”; Wright, 15] As part of his cleansing, a former leper had to bring a sacrifice to the temple.

But once again, the temple system did not affect cleansing in the case of leprosy – it didn’t cause him to be clean – it merely authenticated that he was now clean. [Ellington, 463]

And so, neither the priesthood nor the temple could make the leper clean. But the leper comes to Jesus and says, “If you will, you can make me clean.” He believes that Jesus is greater than the priesthood, and greater than the temple.

Which brings us to a third element of the leper’s faith. While he believes that Jesus is greater than the temple, he also somehow believes that Jesus is also less lethal than the temple.

Because if an unclean person approached the temple and its holiness, the result was supposed to be the banishment or the death of the unclean person.

Remember, as we said, uncleanness and holiness are both dynamic – they each seek to spread.

Either can spread to something that is common.

But when something holy and something unclean are brought together, the interaction is antagonistic.

If an unclean person comes in contact with a holy thing, the unclean person was to be excluded from the people of God – cut off from the people.

But then, beyond the holy there was the “most holy” – even closer to the presence of God. And if even a common and clean person approached and came into contact with what was “most holy”, he was to be put to death. An unclean person, we would think would be even more liable to death if he were to intentionally approach the “most holy” place in the temple. [Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, 977-978]

Which means, it would seem, that if Jesus is greater than the temple, as the leper’s faith seems to profess, then the leper should by no means approach him. If Jesus is greater than the temple, then an unclean person approaching him should be cast out at best, or pay with his life at worst.

But the leper approaches anyway. This leper believes both that Jesus is greater than the priesthood, and greater than the temple, and also that he is somehow less lethal. He is somehow more approachable.

That is the content of the leper’s faith.

How then, does Jesus respond?

The Response: “I Will; Be Clean”

That is the third thing we come to: Jesus’ response. We read in verses forty-one and forty-two: “Moved with pity, [Jesus] stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”

Jesus reaches out with his compassionate touch, he speaks his loving word, and he imparts his powerful cleansing.

First, Jesus reaches out with his compassionate touch. As we said, by approaching Jesus, this man was making a bold move – rooted in faith both in Jesus’s power and confidence that Jesus will accept his bold approach.

But Jesus’s response is, in a way, even bolder. He reaches out, in pity and compassion, and touches the man. And that communicated something deep. It communicated his compassion and care for the man in a way that words alone could not have. It communicated the personal nature of his love for the man in a way that few other acts in that moment would have. And it confirmed the man’s belief that somehow, despite the fact that Jesus’ holy power was greater than that of the temple, Jesus was, in fact, more accessible to those who had become separated from God. [Edwards, 69-70; Bayer, 1895]

Second, Jesus speaks his loving word. “I will; be clean” he says. Jesus tells the man that he does desire the man’s cleansing, and that he himself will bring it about, out of love for him. With his words he confirms the man’s faith, and bolsters the man’s faith, and tells him that his love is not just a generalized love, but is a love for him in particular.

Third, Jesus imparts a powerful cleansing. Immediately the leprosy left the man, and he is made clean. Jesus eliminates the barrier that kept the man from God’s special presence. He was strong enough to do it immediately. And with that, he did what only God could do.

This was Jesus’s response to the leper’s coming to him in faith.

Now, with all of that said, here is the question that you need to consider this morning: What, right now, is the biggest barrier in your relationship with God? What is the thing you see as currently impeding your ability to draw close to him?

Maybe, you are struggling with doubts: You want to believe, but you feel plagued by unbelief. Maybe you are struggling with a specific kind of sin: You want to follow Jesus more faithfully, but this particular sin keeps turning you away.

Or maybe the issue is not something growing out of your heart, but something outside of your control – much like this man’s leprosy. Maybe it’s a recent loss dominating your life. Maybe it’s brokenness in certain relationships that used to bring spiritual encouragement to you. Maybe it’s some sort of medical or mental affliction. Maybe it’s some seemingly insurmountable challenge in your life that is also impeding your relationship to God in some way.

What is it for you?

That’s the first question to ask.

And the second one is: Whatever that thing is, are you bringing it to Jesus? Are you coming to him in prayer, and identifying it before him, and saying to him “If you will, you can make me clean of this.”? “If you will, you can take away these doubts.” “If you will, you can deliver me from this temptation.” “If you will, you can take away this brokenness.” Or: “If you will, you can help me draw close to God even in the midst of this brokenness.”

Now, the Bible does not promise that Christ will respond with immediate relief as he does here. The immediate cleansing in our text is more a reminder of what Jesus is able to do, rather than a promise about the timeline by which he will do it. And so, we may need to be persistent. He may want us to come to him not just once, but again and again. But either way, we know that if we come to him in faith, he will not turn away from us any more than he did from the leper.

Instead, Jesus will reach out to us in pity and compassion. He will embrace us with a love that is not general and vague, but specifically for us, as particular people with particular struggles.

He will speak his loving word to us, assuring us of his love, and reminding us of his care for us.

And he will act in powerful cleansing. We do not know how much of that cleansing will come now, and we do not know how much of it will come in this life, but we do know that whether in this life or the next, Jesus will restore us and cleanse us, so that we may enter the presence of God our Father.

In our text this morning, Jesus calls you to believe that, and then to arise, and go to him in faith.

How do you need to respond to that call today? What is the thing that you have not been bringing to him, that you need to? He calls you this morning, to come to him by faith, like the leper, that you too might receive his embrace and his cleansing.

That is the third thing we see here in our text.

The Deeper Cost: Jesus in the Desolate Places

Fourth and finally, we come to the deeper cost. In verses 43-45, the narrative continues. We read: “And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.’ But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.”

Jesus here gives the man two commands. The first is to go to the priests and to offer the sacrifices prescribed in the Book of Leviticus. This was the means by which the man’s cleansing was to be authenticated.

Priests lived throughout Israel, and so the former leper could first go to a local priest to certify that he was now clean, and then he could offer the prescribed sacrifices for his cleansing the next time he was at the temple in Jerusalem, for the next annual feast [Edwards, 71; Wright, 14], which he was now free to attend.

Second, Jesus commands the man not to tell others how he had been cleansed by Jesus. And commentators point out that the Greek indicates that Jesus’s admonition to the man in verses 43-44 was not a mere request, but a strong admonition. [Edwards, 70]

It might seem like an odd command to us, but Jesus had his reasons for it, and the man should have trusted that.

But instead, in verse 45, the man breaks Jesus’s command. [Edwards, 71]

Now, let’s note two things about this.

First, we should not overstate this act of disobedience as if it means his earlier faith was false. As the Bible tells us quite regularly, true believers still sin.

But second, we also must not understate this act of disobedience either. It was sin. It was a direct violation of the word of Jesus. The command Jesus gave may not have made sense to the man, but that did not matter. We do not need to understand in order to obey. And this man disobeyed.

And with that, our text goes from dealing with a symbol of sin and death with the man’s leprosy, to dealing with actual sin here in verse forty-five.

And as it does, it gives us a picture of the deeper cost of Jesus’ cleansing work.

Were we only to look at verses forty through forty-two, we might come away with the mistaken impression that Jesus’ cleansing work costs him nothing – that it was simply the combination of Jesus’ power and Jesus’ compassion, and like that, symbolic and actual sin and death were cleansed and washed away.

But in verse forty-five we are reminded that there is a deeper cost to Jesus. Because now, as a result of this man’s sin, we read that “Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places.”

One commentator puts it like this – he writes: “Mark began this story with Jesus on the inside and the leper on the outside. At the end of the story, Jesus is ‘outside in lonely places.’ Jesus and the leper have traded places.” [Edwards, 72]

In other words, by the end of this story, Jesus has received a curse, so that this man (who now deserves a curse) could instead receive a blessing. [Horne, 47]

Mark here gives us a picture that true cleansing of true sin is not only an act of compassion and power by Jesus, but an act of sacrifice. It is a trading of places. Or, as our declaration of pardon put it earlier this morning: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [2 Corinthians 5:21]

Jesus Christ took our place on the cross. That was the deeper cost of our cleansing.

And even when he knew that’s what it would cost, he was still willing to do it.

And so, as you consider the promises of our text this morning, if you struggle with whether Jesus really loves you … if you struggle with whether he really wills to make you clean, remember the deeper cost he already paid for you.

And if he was already willing to do that for you, when you were still in your sin, then how can you doubt that he is willing to cleanse you now?

As our hymn puts it:

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,

Weak and wounded, sick and sore;

Jesus, ready, stands to save you,

Full of pity, joined with power.

He is able, […]

He is willing; doubt no more.


 This sermon draws on material from:

Alexander, T.D. From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.

Bayer, Hans. Introduction and notes to Mark in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

Ellington, Paul. “Leprosy” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.

France, R. T. The Gospel of Mark. NIGTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

Horne, Mark. The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.

Jordan, James B. Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1988.

Keller, Timothy. Jesus the King. New York, NY: Penguin, 2011.

Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 1-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1991.

Milgrom, Jacob. “The Rationale for Biblical Impurity.” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Society. Vol 22, Issue 1. January 1993.

Mishna. Translated by Herbert Danby. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1933

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