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Oh To Be Like Him

OH, TO BE LIKE HIM                   –           Mark 1: 40-45

I would like for you to look again at the words of the song we just sang. I asked __________ to sing this song because this song expresses what we as disciples of Christ should strive for…and that is, “to be like Him.”

 But it is not just the song that says we are to be like Jesus.

 A disciple is not simply someone who does those things that Christ commands…it is not simply someone who follows Jesus’ teachings and obeys them.

Being a disciple includes “being like Him…doing what He did…doing things for the same reasons He did…following His example…having within ourselves the same attitudes, the same heart He did.

So, this morning, we are going to learn a little more about what we need to do to “be like Him.”

Let’s begin in verse 40.

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.”

 Now, for you to understand more clearly what Jesus does here in this situation, I want to acquaint you a little more with what it  meant to have leprosy.

And you can’t wash your hair…you can’t carry a comb…your hair has to stay messy and unkempt so no one can get close to you.

Leprosy was not just a physical condition…it had social and emotional, and spiritual consequences that were more tragic and painful than the disease.

And what made it especially tragic was that leprosy was frequently regarded as divine punishment for sin.

Now, that makes this leprous man’s approach all the more startling because he obviously violates the law when he appears right up next to Jesus.

And notice two very important things about his coming.

And second, I want you to notice what he says.

He does, however, do what a lot of people do today…perhaps some here this morning.

Some of us do the same thing…we are just like the leper.

Well, let me tell you, Jesus is willing!

How willing is God to forgive us?

So, this leper comes to Jesus and says, “Will you touch me? Am I an untouchable?”

Let’s read now, vs. 41-42.

41 And moved with compassion, He stretched out His hand, and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  42 And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

 Notice, Jesus doesn’t drive away the ones who have broken the law.

 And notice, Jesus touches this man before He ever says a word.

And another thing, Jesus didn’t have to heal this way.

In the gospel of Mark, what does it mean to follow Jesus?

And that is hard for some of us to hear isn’t it?

Who are some of the untouchables today? Let me suggest some.

It is hard to touch people who are “unclean.”

And let me say something right here: It is easier to talk than it is to touch.

A minister in Lubbock was driving one day right after a West Texas thunderstorm have moved through and flooded the streets.

Compassion is hard to express long distance.

And something else, this leper interrupted Jesus.

Let’s read on.

43 And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, 44 and He 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 testimony to them.”  45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news about, 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.

What Jesus tells this man to do here is not really what we might expect Him to do.

Why? Let me suggest that there are some very good reasons.

First, Jesus is simply asking the man to do what the Law requires.

Second, notice Jesus said, “Go to the priest as a testimony to them.”

Third, and maybe most important from the practical stand point, Jesus’ concern was that wide publicity of such a cure might, once again, cause people to come to him just to be healed…with no interest in what was really important…

And in this passage His fears are legitimate because the leper disobeys and he tells everyone…and it becomes impossible for Jesus to enter the villages to do the very thing He had come to do.

I do think it is ironic though that Jesus tells this leper to go and tell no one…and he went and told everyone…and Jesus tells us to go and tell everyone…and we go and tell____

Conclusion: In this passage Jesus touches the untouchable.

How touchable are you? How touching are you?

When no one else would Jesus reaches out and touches this leper.

If Jesus will do that, then shouldn’t we?

Who are your untouchables? Would Jesus agree?

Jesus calls us to love those that we would naturally fear or hate.