You are not the exemption!
Mark 1: 40 – 45 “A man with leprosy[h] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”
I must have preached this hundreds of times and this morning I saw something I have never seen. Perhaps I have been reading it from other translations where the words are actually, ‘moved or filled with compassion’. At first I thought I had read it wrong, even thinking there was something wrong with my printed version, does it really say, “Jesus was indignant”?!
The leper believed Jesus could heal leprosy, he had faith for this. He just didn’t have the belief or the confidence that Jesus wanted to heal his leprosy. That’s what made Jesus indignant.
If we trust the translators who use the words that I am more familiar with, ‘moved with compassion’ then we know Jesus is not angry with the man.
Jesus was continually angry with the sin that he encountered, the broken sinful world that he had come to save.
‘God can do this but I am not sure God wants to do this for me.’ How did this man have such a high view of God but such a low view of himself? Why was he despising himself so much? Why such low self-esteem and self-worth? The problem was deeper than his leprosy. What was his story of life that made him think this way? Maybe Jesus looking into the man’s eyes could see the various chapters of the man’s broken story. The things that had happened to him, what he had encountered, the isolation he had experienced, here was a man who had the sins of this world fall on him. This is what made Jesus indignant.
So, maybe we should be careful how we pray or talk to others? The ‘God is not bothered with poor little me’ is likely to get an angry response! The point is that attitude is wrong and it needs correcting. If God can do it then why wouldn’t He do it for you?
I see something else which perhaps reveals more than we see at first reading. Jesus gave the man a strong warning not to tell people but to go to the Temple and worship. His response was “Jesus wanted this but he didn’t want this for me, not really.” The man thought he was exempt from the commands he had just received. His actions prevented Jesus’ moving freely.
So not only did this man doubt Jesus wanted to heal him, he doubted whether the commands of Jesus were for him also. Thinking you’re the exemption all the time is dangerous for you because it can prevent His work in your life and His work in other people’s too. You are not the exemption! So stop making Jesus indignant!