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Who Do You Say I Am?
The Gospel of Mark
The Angry Invasion

Last week we witnessed the beginning of the Restoration Invasion.

--John the Baptizer prepared the way for the Kingdom.  His job was to make the path for the invasion level… John was getting things ready for the Invasion!

--Jesus got ready for the Invasion by being baptized.  Jesus committed to his vocation of leading the Restoration Invasion.  Sidebar… You can join the invasion in your baptism.  Part of baptism is a commitment to be a follower!

--Jesus affirmed his vocation in the wilderness temptation.  After the wilderness, Jesus was committed to the path of the invasion. 

-- John the Baptizer was arrested. This was the trigger for Jesus to move into action… Jesus preached, “Repent and believe the Gospel”.  This repentance, changing vocation to the Gospel is joining the Invasion. 

--Jesus then began to recruit his army… Fishers of men repented. Andrew, Simon, John and James believed the Gospel.  They signed up for the Invasion. 

--Then the invasion began! The first battle was the unclean spirit in the Capernaum Synagogue.  The unclean spirit lost miserably to Jesus.  "Be silent, and come out of him!"  The war was on!

--Jesus moved against the brokenness of the world by healing the sick.  This world is created as good.  But it has been broken.  The Restoration Invasion has come to fix all that.  The kingdom of heaven began to impact the kingdom of earth.

--Jesus then touches – I think hugged - a leper.   Jesus is not only healing the leper, but reintegrating the oppressed back into the community. That is what happens during the Restoration Invasion… the oppressed are hugged.  Community is restored. 

Jesus began the Restoration Invasion in Capernaum of Galilee on a Saturday morning in the Synagogue 1984 years ago!  It has moved and grown and fashioned the world and attacked strongholds and will continue until the ultimate victory at His return when the world will ultimately be restored!  Looking forward to that!

Romans 8:19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

The Creation is looking forward to the completion of the Invasion, too!

This morning I want to explore the encounter Jesus had with the leper just a bit deeper.  This exchange between Jesus and the leper reveals important clues about how the Restoration Invasion works.

Let’s carefully read this encounter looking for clues.

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Mark 1:40-42 And a leper came to Jesus, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean."  Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 

 

Notice the word clean is used three times.  “If you want to you can make me clean.”  “I want to be clean.”  And, he was clean!  Jesus made the leper… clean.  The Restoration Invasion is about making things clean! 

Leprosy in the days of Jesus, was more than what we know as Hansen's disease.  It covered a variety of skin diseases.  We don’t know what exact flavor of skin disease this guy had.  But if he did have the classic Hansen’s disease, we can understand why he was desperate to be made clean.

Leprosy is a nerve disease.  It results in a lack of ability to feel pain.  Because of this body parts fall off.  Due to repeated injuries that go unfelt or infections that go unnoticed the body falls apart. White blotches appear on the skin where the leprosy bacteria is present.  These form hideous distortions and lumps. This guy may have been deformed with nodules or even missing body parts.

Leprosy is somewhat contagious. This is thought to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of an infected person.  So, there were Old Testament laws of isolation of the lepers. It is a nasty disease which slowly destroyed the body and isolated the individual.

Imagine the intensity when the leper said "If you will, you can make me clean." 

--Perhaps he looked at his gnarled hands…

--Perhaps he held up his missing fingers…

--Perhaps he pointed to the nodules on his face

--Perhaps he indicated his revolting clothes…

--Or the smell of decaying flesh. 

Clean was what he wanted.  Clean was what he needed.  Clean was what he craved!  “If you will you can make me clean!”

Jesus said, “I will. Be clean.”  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 

That is what the Restoration Invasion is about.  It is all about moving with cleanness into an infected world.  It was spectacular that day in Galilee. Bam, he is clean!  It has never ceased to be spectacular anytime a person encounters Jesus.  We can be made clean.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Wow… Clue One: The Invasion restores clean!

I think there are more clues we can learn from the encounter with the leper.  Let’s go back again looking for more.

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Mark 1:40-42 And a leper came to Jesus, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean."  Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 

We have a textual problem.  I hate it when we have textual problems. The word translated here in the ESV as “moved with pity” might have said something else originally.  As you know, we do not have any of the original manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark.  It would be great if we had the actual papyrus which Mark wrote.  What we do have are lots of reliable copies… of copies… of copies.  Somewhere along the copying process some scribe most likely made a change. 

There are some old copies which have written… “moved with pity”.  But we have other old copies which say, “moved with anger”.  What? That is not the same thing.  Was Jesus angry or compassionate? Here is the interesting question.  Which is most likely that a scribe copying would change… pity to anger or anger to pity?  Which is most likely the original word?  It is more likely that Mark wrote anger and some scribe changed it to pity… because he didn’t think Jesus should be angry at a leper.  I think Mark originally wrote Jesus was moved with anger.

What if this is true?  What If Jesus was angry?  What was Jesus at?

This would be a clue about the Restoration Invasion…

Mark 1:41 Moved with anger, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."

What is Jesus angry about?  I don’t think he was angry with the leper.    

--Perhaps, Jesus was angry at… Satan… who had perverted his creation. 

1 John 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Perhaps as Jesus looks at the deformities of the leper he is filled with anger at the One who has taken the good creation and twisted it to look like this leper! 

--Perhaps as Jesus looks around him…at so much sickness.  He already healed so many. Jesus may have been filled with despair at all the hurt in his perfect world.  How had it gotten so bad?  Maybe, Jesus looked back to the Garden of Eden. It was wonderful, back then.  It filled him with anger at his sick world.

--Maybe Jesus was angry at how this leper was treated.  I can imagine all those around Jesus are repulsed by the leper… They all made the disgusted face when Jesus touched this creature.  No, one cared about this guy.  So, Jesus hugs him just to learn them.  Jesus could have been angry at oppression.

--Perhaps as Jesus looked around him at all the oppression.  Satan used the Romans to oppress his world.  Somewhere around 1/3 of everyone in the Roman world was a slave.  That was wrong.  Just a 100 years before Jesus there was a slave revolt led by Spartacus.  After the final battle of the slave army against the Roman legions, when the Romans won they crucified 6,000 rebellious slaves along a road for 130 miles. Perhaps Jesus reflected upon his own coming cross.  Perhaps Jesus saw the evil of his world and filled him with righteous anger! 

--Perhaps as Jesus looks into the deformed eyes of this leper, knowing that even though he was about to heal him he would die again of something else.  Jesus could have been hurt that even after all his healings the people would all die again.  Jesus could have been angry at death… the last enemy.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26 For Jesus must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

I don’t know what all Jesus was angry about, but here is the clue…

There is anger in the Restoration Invasion!

We, who have signed up for the Invasion, should be angry as well…

--All the hurt in the world should anger us!

--All the brokenness in the world ought to anger us!

--Cancer should make us angry!

--Hunger should make us angry!

--Death should make us angry!

--Powers who brutalize should make us angry!

Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

There is a righteous anger which should move us to join the invasion!  To be a part of the army which marches to restore creation! 

The Invasion is angry.

“Wow! Is that all?”  There are more clues from the leper encounter.

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Mark 1:40-42 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean."  Moved with anger, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 

Last week I said, Jesus is the one who is contagious.  The leper was not going to make the Holy One of God unclean any more than the unclean demon or Peter’s Mother-in-law was going to infect Jesus with something.  Jesus contaminated the leper with cleanness!  With wholeness!  With acceptance!  With restoration!

 

As followers of Jesus, we take on the contagious cleanness of Jesus.  We should be less worried about being infected by the world and more concerned with touching those who need healing.  Our anger is toward the powers of this world.  But towards the individuals suffering because of the powers we touch; we contaminate them with the healing love of Jesus! 

Wow.  That is how the invasion works.  Through the power of Jesus, we bring restoration into broken lives.  We advance the kingdom of God one touch at a time.  That is our power.  It is not the power of force or the power of brutality or the power of persuasion… it is the power of touch!

The Invasion is contagious! 

We have gather these clues, so far… The Invasion is about clean, and anger and contagious touching.

Let’s finish up our clue gathering with an odd thing in our pericope. 

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Mark 1:42-45 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.  And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them." But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Jesus told the clean leper to go straight to the priest and do the requirements of the Law of Moses to show that you are clean.  But instead, the leper blabbed everywhere what had happened.  The gossip spread so fast that Jesus could not even go into town anymore but was stuck out in the desolate places. 

I’m not sure what the clue is.  Why did Jesus tell him not to spread the word?  I thought the point was spreading the good news. 

I suspect the clue must be about what is important.  Just a couple of verses before this Jesus had said…

Mark 1:38 "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."

The invasion is about preaching.  The invasion is not only about healing or casting out demons or creating community, but preaching the message of the Kingdom.  Jesus came with a message… “Repent and believe the Gospel!”  But many would be attracted to Jesus only for the sake of the miracles he performed. They would be attracted to him much like they would be attracted to a carnival sideshow. They would not be interested in the truth he came to teach, but in having their senses dazzled by seeing a miracle.

 

The consequences to Jesus for the healed leper’s disobedience was a hindrance to his preaching.

Amongst all else, the Kingdom is focused on what the message of the Gospel.   The Invasion is all about preaching the good news of Jesus Christ!

--We must repent to make the gospel out vocation.

--We must believe the Gospel… its power in the weakness of the cross!

--We must take this message to the world… the message leads is restoration!

 

Let’s wrap this up… with clues we have learned about the Restoration Invasion.

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--We have brokenness in our world.   People are hurting.  People are dying.  This should anger us.  Satan and all his hurt should anger us enough to use…

--Our contagiousness.  We are contagious with clean.  We can touch others with the healing power of Jesus to help them.  This allows us to…

--Preach the message.  A message of a day that is coming when the earth will be restored.  When all of the brokenness will be fixed; All will be repaired, All will be restored!

--We preach repent and believe in the Gospel.  Change your vocation and sign up with Jesus to be a part of the restoration.

--There is nothing more important we can do with our lives than THIS!

One sentence summary…

The brokenness of the world should anger us into using our contagious cleanness to touch lives with the preaching of the Gospel of God. 

 

Tim Stidham

February 26, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ

 



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