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January 13 | Mark 1:40-45


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION

Desperately Sick

by Mary Alice McGinnis


On January 2, 2024, COVID reared its ugly head in my household. As I am writing this now, I am feeling the effects on my body. The aches and pains. The chills and the congestion. And what is worse? Feeling like I should not go out into public in fear of infecting other people. Fortunately, most people who contract COVID these days recover, unlike leprosy in Jesus’ day.

 

Contracting leprosy in biblical times was a death sentence. There was no cure. The disease starts in the extremities, such as the fingers and toes or the face and head. Slowly, the acid-like bacteria rots the skin and destroys nerve endings. The decaying flesh produces a horrific odor that is repulsive. People who had leprosy were like walking death—the living dead. And there was no cure.

 

Add to all that, the stigma that was attached to the disease. Lepers were outcasts of society. They were thought to be “unclean” and therefore “unworthy” of anyone’s attention or concern. Many thought lepers were sick because they were being punished for something. They lived in shame, isolated, and alone in the world.

 

The man who approached Jesus in today’s reading knew his hopeless situation. No special ointment would help him. No change in behavior or habits would fix him. No magic diet would reverse the effects. Not even a special doctor could prescribe something to cure him.

 

He was convinced that no one could “cleanse” him from this horrific disease - no one that is except God Himself. Yet he comes humbly to Jesus, at the end of his rope. No more options. Somehow, he knew Jesus could cure him and make him clean. Doesn’t it make you wonder how he knew?

 

His only doubt was Jesus’ willingness to cleanse him. 

 

Doesn’t this sound like us? When caught in the clutches of sin, it often starts out slow, but the rotting process spreads and begins to destroy us. There is no cure. The spread of this disease of sin will rot us and will eventually lead to death.

 

We must come to a place where we realize the seriousness of our situation. There is no cure, no one in this world who can cleanse us. No new habits or rituals that will fix us. No doctor with the right prescription. No magic answers. Our diagnosis is terminal.

 

God is the ONLY ONE who can make us clean.

 

Just like with the leper, when we humbly come to Jesus, He reaches out His hand to us in compassion and says:


“I am willing! Be clean!”


PRAYER

Bring your helplessness and need before our Savior Jesus through this stanza of “Jesus Friend of Sinner” by Casting Crowns.

 


Lord, I am that lost cause

And I am the outcast

But You died for sinners just like me

A grateful leper at Your feet.









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1 Comment


robin.lorms
Jan 13

THANK YOU, MARY. I WAS TAKING AN INVENTORY OF MY SHORTCOMINGS (SINS) THIS MORNING. THIS SCRIPTURE SPEAKS TO MY HEART. ONLY JESUS CAN MAKE TAKE MY SIN AND BRING IT TO THE CROSS FOR PAYMENT IN FULL. WHAT A LORD WE HAVE! I AM LIKE THE LEPER IN MANY WAYS . I CAN FEEL THE ROTTING SKIN, THE STENCH AND THE INTERNAL GUILT OF HAVING SINNED IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MY CONSCIENCE SO I CAN'T RUN OR HIDE FOR WHICH I AM GRATEFUL . KINDA LIKE THE LEPER--CAN'T HIDE HIS DISEASE. MY ONLY HOPE AND RESOLUTION IS TO CONFESS MY SIN AND BRING IT TO MY SAVIOUR---LIKE THE LEPER'S ONLY CHOICE FOR HEALING WAS JESU…


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