Mark 1:40-45 – A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
“If you choose, you can make me clean.” The leper stand before Jesus with a humble petition. Covered in open sores, an outcast from society, the leper makes his approach. He can’t demand, only desire. He makes a bold statement. The ball is in your court, Jesus. Will you heal me? Will you choose me? Jesus is touched by the will of this man to be clean.
But when Jesus heals him, he tells him to keep it a secret.
What’s up with that? Most of us would want the credit. We would want everyone to know that we had the power to heal, to do something extraordinary. In fact, we might want them to “like” us on Facebook, or “endorse” us on Linked In, or do a testimonial advertisement. We want the credit. And like the leper, we can’t keep a secret. We want to tell the world, “Hey, I got a great deal! Look what happened to me!”
Jesus was in the beginning of his ministry in this story. Word was just starting to get out of his healing powers. Maybe he knew that this would be the beginning of the end of his annonymity or that this would raise flags with the religious elite around him. Regardless, it would be hard to fly under the radar now. He was on a path to Jerusalem, even if it meant spending time in the country, honing his message and making his messengers. His ministry was about feeding that hunger for connection with God with Us and inviting us to come with humility for healing.