In Mark 1:41, Jesus came across a man who was in serious need. For this man, leprosy was more than just a disease. It represented isolation. Removal from society, removal from culture, removal from civilization… abandonment to a leper colony, filled with people who were equally without hope. Never again would they see their families or friends. It was as if everything he had worked so hard to achieve was now gone.
Can you imagine this? Can you see the despair? Everything that was so meaningful became instantly meaningless. Life became meaningless. Where once goals had been made, dreams cast, and hopes had filled the mind with joy and
anticipation, now existed a dreadful foreboding of what was to come. But then something happened. There had been NO reason to hope, no reason to pray, and no reason to believe – until he heard about Jesus.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
Of course, even though Jesus asked that he remain silent, how could he?! Everything that had been taken was now restored! He could dream again! He could have hope again! Just as life became instantly meaningless, instantaneously it was renewed! All of the sudden, the possibilities were endless.
The life following Jesus should yield us similar results – provided we show compassion. Felt compassion not followed by action of some sort is not compassion at all. It is pity. If Jesus had pitied the leper nothing would have changed. Have you ever pitied someone? Maybe the starving kid on the television infomercial? Maybe the homeless guy asking for change? Did you do anything about it? And I’m not referring to “that one time”. I’m talking about a lifestyle.
Jesus’ life was marked with, and driven by, compassion. The result? Multitudes followed and miracles happened. What would happen if we showed compassion more and pitied less? Why can’t we begin today