The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Upcoming: Gospel for 2.12.06

with 13 comments

Amateur oops here – Old Testament for 2.12.06 is down the way after the 2.19 postings. Click on the “What’s Coming Up” category on the right if you can’t get to it.

Mark 1:40-45
40A leper came to him, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.”
41Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.” 42Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy. 43Jesus dismissed him with strict orders: 44″Say nothing to anyone. Take the offering for cleansing that Moses prescribed and present yourself to the priest. This will validate your healing to the people.” 45But as soon as the man was out of earshot, he told everyone he met what had happened, spreading the news all over town. So Jesus kept to out-of-the-way places, no longer able to move freely in and out of the city. But people found him, and came from all over.

The Message © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Written by Monte

February 6, 2006 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. Too many facets – I’ll just have to choose one.
    I see the leper as having reached a level of despair and brokenness that necessitates humility (humility having been rendered in the caldron of humiliation) and out of that may have come that magnificent surrender. But, as soon as I get what I need to make me feel whole again (real or imagined) I become an egomaniac and humility goes out the window and obedience doesn’t even enter my mind.


    February 10, 2006 at 6:42 am

  2. hi, this is fun…..

    I see a connection having to do with a great deal of faith……the leper knew Jesus could do it, (even though Jesus wasn’t well known, the guy was just blessed with faith, his spiritual gift!).
    The psalmist was great in praising God, proclaiming his faith in a big way. The rub comes when the focus shifts to be about self. (You turned the other way and I fell apart) God never turns the other way, we turn back into our own self centered thoughts.

    The other scripture pulls it together. I am going to keep my eye on the prize, not wasting time bragging all about it. ( I know I didn’t quote that correctly, but the idea is the same.)

    This is me all over. Blessed by a gift of faith, then getting caught up in a ‘me thing’. Glad to know I’m not the only one who gets lost in this trap. Jesus must be happier when we just live out the blessings he gives us. Quiet faith is a huge testimony.


    February 9, 2006 at 5:07 pm

  3. Great to have this “conversation” with you again Ben….reminds me of those days when we were leading the boys group. Had some great conversations then too. Miss ya guy!


    February 9, 2006 at 6:54 am

  4. At the moment, I have to admit I’m stuck in my idea of what Jesus is up to, I can’t think beyond it. Besides that, I have to run the kids to the orthodontist. Ah. life.


    February 8, 2006 at 2:28 pm

  5. I agree with what you are saying, Dan. The leper probably does feel that way–I would!…yet here’s an observation/question. Jesus isn’t well known yet. It’s early in his ministry…I wonder how does the leper even know that Jesus CAN do it.

    Something else to remember as we walk through this book…MARK is extremely intentional. All the passages are connected. Mark has this amazing ability to tell a story…the bigger picture is always a part of why Mark tells the story. The stories are intrically connected and point to each other. I often have thought Mark would be the one to write a Discovery Channel special on Jesus. His audience is broad–Gentiles primarily, with Jews still in the picture. He wants to someone to read this story and answer the question, “Who is Jesus?”
    So, like Dan said, what is the bigger picture? Mark never tells a story just to tell it…he is trying to say something. Examples of this are Ch 8-10 being one long discourse on discipleship…different stories that appear unique, but are sooooo tied together. Another is Mark 4-5–Peter asks the question “who is this?” in Mark 4 and the Demon possessed man says, “What do you want with me, Jesus Son of God?” Two stories that appear isolated but richly connected…

    I’ve been processing this question for a long time…As we make our way through Mark on this blog, I’ll be looking for a lot of connections…Thanks for the opportunity to still be a part of things up in Iowa!!!

    Ben M.

    February 8, 2006 at 8:26 am

  6. The statement “if you want to” almost implies a sort of humility or even self-loathing, as in “why would you want to?” But at the same time, the leper is pretty confident that Jesus can do this. I think he isn’t very sure that he deserves to be healed…I guess this would be grace….the leper doesn’t deserve it, and yet Jesus heals him.


    February 8, 2006 at 12:26 am

  7. Ben’s comment keeps coming back to me. Why would he start with “If you want to …”? Does it mean that if Jesus doesn’t comply, he doesn’t care?


    February 7, 2006 at 6:30 pm

  8. Amy, so glad to hear from you! Yes, you’re more than welcome here.

    Loved your comment “The more I watch Jesus.” Isn’t it amazing how paradigm-breaking simply watching Jesus is? I have a hunch this is why he’s always after the people he heals to keep it quiet. Maybe he figures once he becomes known as “Messiah,” he’ll be so stereotyped by their expectations that it will be harder for them to really watch what he is like. I spoke about this a little on the 29th, which I think is posted here somewhere.

    So, yeah, you’re right, seems like one of the themes of the gospels is something like “outsiders are getting it, insiders are not.”

    Now here’s the challenge I find facing me: how do I keep my own heart supple enough that my stereotypes and expectations of him are easily shattered? Ugh – I have found enough of them to know there must yet be many more!

    Great to chat with you!


    February 7, 2006 at 2:45 pm

  9. Dan wrote: “Jesus always seems to understand the bigger picture…”

    Dan – I just posted some thoughts on the middle voice, and I didn’t read your comment here until afterwards. But what I wrote is about seeing “the main thing.” It is great reinforcement for me to hear you saying it at the same time. Wow.


    February 7, 2006 at 2:30 pm

  10. Hey, Monty, Bill’s wife Amy here. I thought this might be fun to join in on, if that’s okay with you. So, what does Jesus have in mind? I find it telling that he sends the ex-leper back to the religious establishment “as a testimony to them,” as NIV says. The more I watch Jesus, the more I see him trying to get through to the religious that God is not quite who they think he is.


    February 7, 2006 at 7:18 am

  11. Jesus always seems to understand the bigger picture…there is something more or bigger than a healing going on. In fact, the healing may not be the “main thing.” So, what is the “main thing?” To the man, the healing is still the main thing…but it seems Jesus has something else in mind.


    February 6, 2006 at 8:59 pm

  12. Ah, good insight! I’m going to be thinking about that.


    February 6, 2006 at 8:23 pm

  13. I’m fascinated with the first line…”If you want to…” It’s not, “if you can.” I’m wondering if I were in the Lepers shoes, I probably wouldn’t have said that…I would have assumed the no one would want anything to do with me…this man would be just like everyone else.

    Ben M.

    February 6, 2006 at 8:21 pm

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