Though the law forbade it, Jesus touched the leper.
Our symbol this week is Jesus reaching out in compassion to the leper.
It is sobering to realize that this horrible disease is often used to represent sin in Scripture.
The day I knelt to receive Christ, before He touched me and made me clean, He showed me I wasn’t the nice young woman I imagined myself to be, but instead, I was covered with the disease of sin which maimed me, isolated me from those I loved, had oozing sores, and a terrible odor.
He showed me the real Dee and it was frightening.
He touched me and made me clean, made me whole!
I rose from my knees a new creation, with a new perspective, and a new heart.
A new Dee was beginning.
Often, it isn’t until we realize how ghastly our sin is that we realize we need a Savior,
it is only then that true heart transformation can happen.
My new friend Marty, whom I met a pickleball, shares that though she grew up Catholic, raised in parochial schools, and was always aware of God, she didn’t think of herself as a sinner, for she had neither murdered nor committed adultery. But after I invited her several times, she finally came to Bible study, and I could see God was wooing her. It was our study on the Beatitudes that caused the true opening of her heart and mind. She was riding her bike, pondering the puzzling passage about “blessed are those who mourn.”
Suddenly it hit her forcefully:
I am truly a sinner in desperate need of a Savior!
I, frankly, have been overwhelmed by the fruit I’ve seen in Marty’s life: forgiving some grievous wrongs, trusting in some life-threatening situations, and reaching out in great compassion to others. She always seemed like a nice woman, but wow, how I see the life of Jesus in her now!
Seeing our sin as leprosy is good, because the enemy lies that sin is our friend,
but the truth is, it will maim us, isolate us, and ruin our lives.
We need to run to Him in repentance. He knows what is best. As we learned last week,
“He is the King, I tell you.”
Highlight from Last Week’s Study on Christ as King:
Christ is King with Authority over All
We have such an amazing group here! I’m choosing Staci’s story from last week about how God led her with Tanzania for it so illustrates how Christ is King with authority over all. He knows the future and can warn his servants, as he did with David in 1 Samuel 23, so that David took another route. He did that with Staci too. But before I share an edited version of her story (you can read her whole story in last week’s comments) I asked her for some pictures of her months in the Tanzania orphanage. She sent these wonderful ones, showing her playfulness and connection with the children.
I bought my tickets and felt an immediate uneasiness, like I have never felt before…I began to have stomach aches and nightmares… I felt God warning me if I went I would not return home alive. Call that drastic, but I finally told my husband, which I was afraid to do, because I had already purchased my tickets and no refunds. I have a wonderful understanding husband, he said I had better listen and not go… Fast fwd to last summer, 2018 we are in our car driving across country to our new home here in Idaho. I receive a lengthy email from the missionaries in Tanzania basically saying they fled for their lives and could not return. I later talked with some ministry friends who have been in my life since the day I got saved at 21, they are like the parents I never had. He began to share when I called and told them I was going back to Africa, he had a bad feeling, God had him praying and would not let him sleep as well. I won’t go into it all, but basically told me what I already knew, I was not going to come back alive. He was really worried and was glad to hear when I called days later that I didn’t have peace and cancelled my trip.
Our God is King, and we are wise to listen to His still small voice, for He is also a caring Lord, often protecting us even when we are foolish. When Staci sent me these pictures, she said:
I have been thinking about my time in Tanzania and how God protected me… I did this trip completely solo. Landed in a city of 1 million people, Ramadan was in full swing and 3rd world . Then I trekked by bus with the locals for 12 hours across country west into the Bush, mind you when I say bus I mean no air, smelly, locals vomiting around me due to rough roads… It was quite a journey to say the least and I didn’t realize … you are the only white person, so you stand out and become the target for beggars and more.. did I mention a woman by herself? My husband thought I was nuts and had intel at his work check things out before I left. I look back now and I wouldn’t do that again by myself. But God had me there…
Here is a picture of Staci and her husband before he left for Turkey last year.
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Was there a point in your life when you realized just bad sin was and that you desperately needed a Savior? If so, share something about it.
Monday: Praying in a Solitary Place
3. Read Mark 1:35-39
A. Describe what happened in verses 35-36.
B. Describe the dialogue between the disciples and Jesus in 37-38.
C. Why did Jesus say He had come?
D. What two things did he do as he traveled throughout Galilee?
4. What stands out to you from what Keller writes about this passage in the beginning of chapter
3 of “King’s Cross?”
5. How has the Lord met you this week in His Word or in your life?
Tuesday: Moved with Compassion
Read Mark 1:40-45
3. Read Mark 1:40-45 out loud with expression in order to see more.
A. Describe what happened, making observations, imagining emotions.
B. Do you have any questions for the group?
Read this half page article from Christiainity Today.
4. What stands out to you from this article and why?
Wednesday: Healing the Body and Soul
5. Read Mark 2:1-5
A. Describe what happened, making many observations to help yourself see more.
B. How do you think the man, the friends, and the crowd felt by the first thing Jesus says?
Why do you think that?
6. What stands out to you from what Keller writes about this passage? (Read up to “Going
7. So often we are far more concerned about our physical problems than our spiritual problems.
We fail to truly mourn our sin, and therefore continue living with its oozing sores, bad odor,
and maiming effects. But if daily we come before Him and allow Him to search us, and truly
mourn how it hurts us, Him, and others, we will find the true joy of healing. Take time now,
either privately or publicly here, to mourn whatever He shows you. (Tomorrow I hope for some
healing reports from many of us!)
Thursday: Eustace and Aslan
In Chapter 3 of “King’s Cross,” Keller tells the story of Eustace from Lewis’ “Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Read what Keller writes.
8. How does this story illustrate both the pain of truly confessing and repenting of sin, but
also the joy and freedom that follows?
9. How has that happened for you either in the past or much more recently? Give thanks!
Friday: Deeper Still
10. Read Mark 2:6-12
A. Read carefully, describing the thoughts of some of the teachers and Jesus response.
B. What observations or questions do you have about this passage?
C. What do you think is the answer to Jesus’ question and why?
11. Read what Keller has to say under “Deeper Still” to the end of the chapter. What
stands out to you and why?
12. How have you experienced the Lord in your life in the last 24 hours?
13. What particularly stands out to you from this week and why?