“Jesus sent him away at once and warned him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, show yourself to the priest. Then offer the sacrifices which Moses commanded as proof to people that you are clean.”” – Mark 1:43-44
In the Gospels, we see Jesus heal a man with leprosy. It says that Christ told the man not to tell anyone, but to go to the church and offer a sacrifice as was the tradition. That confused me, because if I was healed of a life threatening disease, I would shout it from the rooftops. But Jesus in His infinite wisdom didn’t want the people getting focused on the leper, but instead, Christ wanted everyone to focus on God’s grace that actually allowed the healing. That’s much like a child’s baseball game. When you see a child hit a home run, you don’t praise the ball for flying so far away. You instead praise the child for being a good baseball player. Jesus didn’t want people hung up on the body that was healed, but rather see the gift of God that made the healing possible.
Also, think about the leper himself. He was not used to people paying attention to him. People would run from a leper. It was a dreaded disease that claimed many lives in a horrible fashion. They would never get touched, but now that the man with leprosy was clean, people would be touching him just to make sure the miracle was real. The surprise attention would easily go anyone’s head. Christ knew this and that is why the book of Mark says that Jesus “straightaway warned the leper.” It was a warning for the man who once had leprosy to keep his focus on God who cleansed him rather than the cleansing itself. He was once a beggar, but now a celebrity. The leprosy corrupted the man’s body, but pride would corrupt the man’s soul.
There was so much more to the man than his leprosy. That’s something important to remember when we meet people, whether it be in good or bad circumstances. That leper may have had a brilliant mind or a well-articulated speaking voice, but no one would have known that because the average person wouldn’t have tried to know the person behind the disease. Now cleansed of his leprosy, the man had a new lease on life, so to speak. But it would be too easy for the man to take what God had given him and used it for the wrong reasons. He was free of the disease, but could have been susceptible to falling for pleasures of the same flesh that failed him in other ways just days before. The man could have easily let the anger of being previously disliked take control and lead him into vengeance. That is why Jesus told the man not to say anything. It wasn’t because Jesus was trying to keep it a secret. It was because the body had been healed, but the man was more than just flesh and bone. The man believed in Jesus as the Messiah, but all too easy would it have been for the man to start putting more faith into his new found body instead of keeping his faith in God.
Like Jesus says in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?” The man’s outside was not falling apart anymore, but who he was inside needed to stay intact. He needed to keep his mind and his actions focused on God so that he could lead others to healing in Christ as well. The man and his disease was what people clued in on before, but now that the leprosy was no longer a roadblock, people could see a physical reminder of God’s mercy and love. The man was crippled before, but now was a walking and talking billboard of grace. Had his entire life been good and easy, maybe the man would have gone down the wrong path. But instead, the man’s life was plagued with sickness and disease. He had nothing, and it is in those times of extreme need that we find ourselves crawling to the Savior. He couldn’t heal himself, otherwise he would have done it already. This leper believed in Jesus and Him alone. A muscle becomes stronger when it is worked out and faith becomes stronger when it is tested. It was his faith in Jesus Christ that allowed him to be cleansed from corruption. Now healed, the man could begin to live out his faith and possibly lead others to Christ.
Your life shouldn’t be a show and tell about your abilities, but of God’s grace. So please, give the credit where the credit is due and remember that actions speak louder than words. Don’t just tell people how holy you are, but instead, show people how holy your Savior is.
God’s blessings to you.