A leper came to him, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, “If you want to, you can make me clean.”

Being moved with compassion, he stretched out his hand, and touched him, and said to him, “I want to. Be made clean.” When he had said this, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. He strictly warned him, and immediately sent him out, and said to him, “See you say nothing to anybody, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing the things which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.”

But he went out, and began to proclaim it much, and to spread about the matter, so that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city, but was outside in desert places: and they came to him from everywhere.

– Mark 1:40-45 (WEB)

Only a relative few of those whom Jesus healed have the story of their healing written in the gospels. Why did this leper have his story included? Perhaps one of the reasons is because of the consequences of what he did after he was healed. Jesus told him not to tell anyone, but he did so anyway. And now Jesus could not walk into a city without being overwhelmed by the crowd (2:1-2, 3:20, 6:31, etc.).

This event appears to be the reason that Jesus spent much of His ministry time in the wilderness. His city ministry was hindered. However, God still used it for His glory. Later Jesus teaches on a mountain (Matthew 5:1), and still later he miraculously feeds them in the desert, twice. This would not have happened if He had been teaching in the city where they could have obtained food (Mark 6:35, 8:1-4).

God can turn evil for good, but it is still better to obey. Who knows what better good would have happened if the leper had done what he was told… perhaps the priest Jesus sent him to as a testimony would have believed, and in turn brought many others to faith in Jesus. Repentance and salvation are greater issues than having your stomach filled miraculously.

This is something for me to remember. Sure, God can still bring good out of times when I disobey, however perhaps I should be more interested in seeing what He’ll do if I do exactly as told.


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