If You Want ToSeries: The Gospel of Mark
Scripture Reading: Mark 1:40-45
Cleaning in ancient times often involved an elaborate set of rituals. Most of these had some sort of religious tie, no matter the religion. For Jews, long before Christian baptism/immersion, a pool built in the ground called a mikvah was the place for people to cleanse themselves before worshipping to ensure their ceremonial cleanliness.
Chances are pretty good, you (hopefully!) took a bath or shower recently. We recognize that being clean is important for good health, proper social etiquette, and overall good presentation of ourselves in public. We often think heavily about our physical cleanliness, but there is another element to our cleanliness that runs much deeper.
Everyone, Christian or not, understands that they’ve done wrong at some point in their lives. As Christians, we also understand there is something that must be done about our sin. At the end of Mark 1, there’s a story of a leper—a person with a severe skin disease—who is desperate to be clean. His words to Jesus are “If you will, you can make me clean.” This man was desperate to be whole and clean again. This morning, we’ll look at the story and see what Jesus does with this man’s request, but for this article’s sake, I’d like to ask you to think about this man’s statement and the hope/desperation in his words. As you think about these things, ask yourself, “Do I want to be clean?” If you knew you needed spiritual cleansing, what would you do to get it, and how far would you go to ensure you were clean?
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