Mark 1:40-42 ESV
“40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”
That Jesus is filled with compassion here is not surprising. A bit surprising is the way some versions translate the word “pity”. Some have anger, and the NIV uses the word “incensed.” From what we know of Jesus, if the word has a bit of strong emotion toward anger in it, it was not because the man asks the question the way he does, but that he was suffering as he was. Most translations use compassion, or pity, or feeling sorry for the man, or something of that nature. A form of this word is used for the compassion shown by the good Samaritan in that story. A form of it is also used in Philippians 1:8 referring to the compassion or affection of Jesus. It comes from the root that relates to bowels or the spleen, which is where strong emotions can thought to have resided. This is from the BlueLetterBible site: “the bowels were regarded as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.).”
It seems to me this is reflecting that this is very strong emotion that Jesus feels, and it is compassion and pity for this man. We see this in that he reached out and touched him. A man with leprosy was not to be touched. He was to be avoided in that time. But for the God who cares for us, He feels the exact opposite. He CARES. He cares for the whole person and strongly wants that person made whole. He wants to touch the cast out one and make him whole.
- Have you ever felt like or been an outcast?
- Did you know Jesus reached down and touched this man who was an outcast and healed him?
Next blog: how did his leprosy make him an outcast?