The Rock Covenant Church

The Rock Church Worship Service

Take Heart
We Exalt Thee (?)

Update on Beth’s twisted intestine: she’s headed in the right direction
Still in pain, but thank you for your prayers (past and future)
Tonight Mark 1:40-45

A man with a skin disease approached Jesus, fell to his knees, and begged, “If you want, you can make me clean.” Incensed, Jesus reached out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do want to. Be clean.” Instantly, the skin disease left him, and he was clean. Sternly, Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t say anything to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice for your cleansing that Moses commanded. This will be a testimony to them.” Instead, he went out and started talking freely and spreading the news so that Jesus wasn’t able to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, but people came to him from everywhere. (Mark 1:40-45 CEB)

Start in Leviticus 13 though to provide more context
The hand out adds emphasis in italics
The Torah has a lot about skin conditions
Most of them get bundled under the heading of leprosy

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, When a person has a swelling, a scab, or a shiny spot on their skin, and it becomes an infection of skin disease on their skin, they will be brought to the priests, either to Aaron or one of his sons. The priest will examine the infection on the skin. If hair in the infected area has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin, then it is an infection of skin disease. Once the priest sees this, he will declare the person unclean. But if the shiny spot on the skin is white and does not appear to be deeper than the skin and the hair has not turned white, the priest will quarantine the infected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest will again examine the infection. If he sees that it has remained the same—the infection has not spread on the skin—the priest will quarantine the person for seven more days. On the seventh day the priest will examine it again. If the infection has faded and has not spread over the skin, the priest will declare the person clean; it is just a rash. The person must wash their clothes, then they will be clean again. But if the rash continues to spread over the skin after they appeared before the priest for purification, they must again show themselves to the priest. If the priest sees that the rash has spread over the skin, the priest will declare the person unclean; it is a case of skin disease.
Leviticus 13:1-8 CEB

If you’re clean, you can participate in community
If you’re unclean, you’re a second class citizen and its literally illegal for you to be touched
So Jesus, what does He do? He touches this person, he’s bumping up against this religious system

Does the idea of Jesus getting angry, nay furious, disturb you?
As long as its not directed at me, it’s fine!
The other thing is, are we angry about the same things Jesus is furious about?

Torah specifies that lepers are supposed to go to the priesthood, not another healer
The man is NOT doing what he’s supposed to be doing
I dare you to make me clean, to defy this system
v. 42, Immediately shows up again, the disease instantly disappears
The man has already followed the system, that’s why he’s been declared unclean in the first place
Jesus invites this man into His conflict with the ideological system
The priests are in control, and Jesus pushes on this system, wants to take away their control

The system is taking from people in the margins
Mark’s gospel takes from the Old Testament a lot, particularly Isaiah and Malachi
Chet Meyers (sp) commentary on Mark
Malachi 3:3
Yahweh will appear as a witness against those who have been marginalized
Judging sorcerers and adulterers and those who prey on the weak
Judgment and cleansing is here

Few things to think about
Who are we declaring unclean?
What would Jesus say to those people?
What kind of religious architect (???) are we using to marginalized people?
Jesus keeps pushing the line, keeps making the boundaries bigger
Grace always wants a little bit more than what it currently has
Are we going to allow the religious impulse to rule the day?

Jesus invites this man into His subversive campaign, but the man blows it
Jesus, why keep it hidden, we could make this huge, it could go viral!

Looking back at v.38, we see Jesus wanting to spread the message of God, He’s not primarily interested in all this healing, He needs to spread the Good Word
Now He’s a marked man and has to go back to the wilderness (which is already His home)
He’s a marked man, He’s unclean because He’s touched this man
Jesus wants to be in the town instead of in the wilderness, but notice that this doesn’t change the content, it just changes the backdrop
When you offer grace, expect resistance
If we follow this Jesus, if we’re going to declare people clean, what resistance are we going to encounter?

I wanted to share a song from the album i just finished
It’s an old hymn by Samuel Crossman (sp)
My Song Is Love Unknown
It has a great line in it
“Love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be”
That just sums up Jesus’ message so well
Yahweh (Take these shoes and make them fit, take this shirt and make it clean, take this soul and make it sing)

Ed. Note: The play Traveling Light places emphasis on Jesus just healing the disease and Him not being able to stay in town anymore due to Him being so popular….I think that could be done better. 😛

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