Need for Christ-like Compassion in a ‘Six feet apart’ world.

February 12, 2022

Writing in the 90’s, Garland’s word choice is oddly poignant for today. Commenting on chapter one of Mark He notes the particular way Jesus healed a leper. He touched him then heal him. Jesus was willing to touch the leper as a show of his compassion before he displayed his power. Such compassion should encouraging the church to embody the same courageous virtue in our world. Garland writes:

“Humans are psychosomatic beings, and healing involves mind, body, emotions, and spirit. These first miracles reveal that Jesus embodies God’s mercy and purpose to take away the diseases, infirmities, and sins of the people. The leper pleads: “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (1:40). Reaching out to touch one who was branded untouchable by religion and society dispels any doubts about Jesus’ willingness. The leper does not have to convince him that he is even worth the effort. This man with his disease does not horrify Jesus. His “power to cleanse is thus demonstrably greater than the power of the leprosy to contaminate.” But touching, hands-on contact, makes us vulnerable. In Jesus’ day, the concern was impurity; in our day, the concern is contagion.(p.87)

The miracles in this section also reveal that Jesus is not someone who is aloof, inaccessible, or detached. Our culture does not touch, and many people live in isolation from others. We seal ourselves off from one another with our privacy fences and retreat to the inner sanctum of the family room. The church is sometimes in danger of doing the same by retreating to its members-only, fully equipped Family Life Center, which becomes a safe cocoon from contact with the harsh realities of a disease-ridden, sin-sick world. We want others quarantined from us so that they will not infect us. But those who bear the name of Christ need to minister in the name of their Lord to those who are the untouchables in our society.”(p.88)

 Ask yourself what act of compassion is God calling you too?


All quotes from David E. Garland, Mark. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996. Page number after the quote.


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