Flu shots begin months before the season hits in hopes of keeping things under control. In spite of this, we find ourselves in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons on record. We take all kinds of additional precautions to stay healthy. I found this to be an interesting parallel to this week's Gospel.
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. He said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. Mark 1:40-45
Lepers were complete outcasts in Jesus' time. In the Book of Leviticus we hear, "He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp." Much of Leviticus is oriented towards living in ways that allowed for people to stay healthy. In biblical times separation was the only truly effective way to control an infectious disease. People would go out of their way to avoid the lepers who were required to announce themselves as unclean. That is why Jesus touching the leper was so astonishing. It appeared that Jesus was throwing caution to the wind.
The leper sought out Jesus. The leper's enthusiasm for his healing created a frenzy that forced Jesus to remain separated from the towns in which He wanted to minister. Think about the irony of that. People needed to come to Jesus instead of Him coming to them. The same is true today. People need the spiritual healing that Jesus brings but if we don't present Him as the "cure" how are they going to find Him?
In knowing Jesus, we have what the world needs! The question is, are we enthusiastically pronouncing it to others?