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How Jesus Heals – Book of Mark

By Pastor Marcus Brown

Table of Contents

Today starts the first week of diving into the Book of Mark. We’re gonna teach through Mark from now until Easter, so don’t miss it! If you have to be out of town, you can catch up online.

Some of you have been in the Word for 30 years, but you’re still going to learn a lot because God’s Word is like an ocean. It’s just so deep. There will always be more things to learn! For others of you, this will be the first time you’ve gone verse by verse through anything, and I believe God will drop some seeds of His Word inside of you and strengthen you like crazy! 

 

We have the Book of Mark journal that you can get off Amazon or download from our website, so you can take notes. Some of our life groups will also go deeper into this. If you’d like to join a life group at your local campus, go to newlifechurch.tv/lifegroups, where you’ll find dropdown menus for each campus that you can choose from.

 

I love the book of Mark, because it’s like an action adventure movie! Matthew’s like Legends of the Fall, and Luke is like Gone with the Wind, but Mark is like The Fast and The Furious! I love Mark because he just gets right to the point all the time. Forty times in this gospel, he said something like, “Then Jesus immediately did this.” And then, boom! He immediately did this, and immediately he left, and immediately he did that. Boom! 

 

The Book of Mark is for people who drink coffee in the morning and a Red Bull at 2 o’clock, and they drive in the left hand lane. If that’s you, then this gospel is for you! I appreciate that Mark is a bottom line talker.

 

I love this guy because his testimony is my testimony. And his testimony is the same testimony for just about every Southerner I’ve ever known. He’s a kid who grew up in church but fumbled his faith when he got a little bit older. His mom’s name is Mary. She was a very wealthy widow, and she was brave and courageous. People met at her house when they were being persecuted. 

 

You can read about her in Acts 12, when Peter was in prison, and an angel busted him out of prison. This was the best prison break in history! When he got out, Peter went straight to Mark’s mom’s house for refuge, and the people were praying there. Mary would risk it all for Jesus. She was willing to lay down her life for Christ, but her son, Mark, was a runner. He would run from God, and he would run from persecution. 

 

Mark had an opportunity to go on a missionary journey with the Apostle Paul. When things got tough, he abandoned Paul. He burned that bridge so bad that his uncle, Barnabas, tried to get him back on a missionary journey later with Paul and Paul said, “No, I’m not going to have anything to do with him.”

 

Mark ran. I’ll give you a little Easter egg. In the end of the Gospel of Mark, there’s a young man in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was betrayed. This was when all the disciples fled Jesus. But one young man was wrestled by a soldier, and he ran away naked. That was Mark. He was a runner. It’s one thing to run. It’s another thing to run with no clothes on, right? There we go. He was a runner. He’s like a church kid who fumbled his faith, but aced a second chance. 

 

How many of you want to ace your second chance that Jesus gave you? At the end of his life, he was with Peter before he was martyred. He was fearless. A lot of this gospel is what Peter was telling Mark before he was martyred. 

 

Before the Apostle Paul was martyred, he and Mark had settled their issues, and Paul said, “Send Mark to me because he can help me.” What did Paul want to do? He had a few more things to write, and he simply said, “This guy can help me.” He’s like a church kid who fumbled his faith, came back and said, “I want to do what you want me to do with my life.” Mark aced the back end of his life. 

 

That’s what’s in this church. The perfect people leave. I don’t know why. They just don’t like me. But the perfect people leave, and what’s left are imperfect people in need of Jesus. If you’ll get this, God will send lost people here every single weekend. We are not a church made up of strong people trying to help needy people. We are a church made up of people who need Jesus to keep working on all of us. 

 

So Mark starts writing this story in Chapter one, entering it with the greatest second chance of all time: A leper, sentenced to death, gets healed by the power of Jesus:

 

Now a leper came to him, imploring him, kneeling down to him and saying to him, If you are willing, you can make me clean. 

 

That is a crazy question right there. 

 

Then Jesus moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing, be cleansed. As soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 

 

And then, this gets weird. 

 

He strictly warned him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, See that you say nothing to anyone. 

 

And you think, why did Jesus do that? I don’t know. He told this guy, “Don’t say anything to anyone,” but he tells everybody.

 

He tells us, “Say everything to everybody,” and we shut up. But what did he say in this passage? He said: 

 

See that you say nothing to anyone, but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded as a testimony. However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the matter so that Jesus could no longer…

 

I’m going to unpack this in a minute because this is a prophetic whisper in Scripture. If you see what’s happening here, it’s going to change the way you see your own faith.

 

…however, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places, and they came to him from every direction. 

 

Leprosy was Satan’s masterpiece. 

 

It’s like Satan went into a cave and thought, “What disease can I create that would destroy the human body from head to toe, spirit, soul, and body, but it won’t kill them for 20 to 30 years? One that would take away their money, their health, their relationships, and their closeness with God.” And when he got out of that cave, he brewed up leprosy.

 

I can’t prove it, but I think the first person who got leprosy was Job. He was covered with things they can’t explain. They just described it as just oozing boils. Even his wife looked at him and said, “Curse God and die.” 

 

But Satan came up with leprosy and it would do three things:

 

1. IT WOULD KILL THE SOUL FIRST. 

 

Back then, if you got leprosy, you lost your body. You lost your ability to physically touch anyone. Leviticus tells us that. When it comes to social distancing and wearing a mask, Fauci didn’t come up with this. Moses did! In Leviticus 13, when you had leprosy, you had to cover your upper lip, your face. You had to back away a certain number of feet and if someone thought that you were too close to them, they could throw rocks at you, like you were a stray dog, until you got far enough away that they felt safe. And you had to scream, even if it was eroding your vocal cords, you had to scream, “Unclean!”

 

Unclean! Could you imagine what that does to the soul? You’ve lost your job, you’re a beggar the rest of your life. You need somebody to give you a handout, and now you can’t physically touch the people that you love, think about this, for the rest of your life. You can’t touch anyone

 

Psychologists say you need eight hugs a day. Eight of them. One of them is supposed to be 20 seconds. That’s a little long. You can only hug your spouse for 20 seconds, you know? If you try to hug me for 20 seconds, I’m thinking, “Alright, One thousand and one, One thousand and. Get off of me!” I’m right there.

 

Basically it killed his soul. 

 

2. IT ERODED HIS BODY OVER TIME. 

 

One of the gospels says that he was full of leprosy, which means he likely had it for 15 to 20 years. He’s right at the end of his life, covered in ulcers, his skin is dry and oozing, his fingers are breaking off, and his feet are breaking off. Many lepers would die from accidents. Satan devised a disease that would cause a person to literally decay, but they didn’t lose their sense of smell. I know this is gross, but the person could smell himself dying over a long period of time. 

 

He’s completely broken in his soul, and then he’s completely broken in his body, and guess where he is banned from going until he is totally healed? He can’t go to church. He’s banned from going to the Temple. He’s banned from seeing a priest. He can only come into that contact if he’s cured, but here’s the problem. There was no cure, until he met Jesus. 

 

Jesus teaches us several things in this story. The leper asks this question, “If you’re willing, you can make me clean.” Here’s the first thing:

 

1. JESUS IS WILLING. 

 

No matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, no matter how filthy you may ever feel on the inside, no matter how much you may hate yourself for things you have done, or how ugly and public it got in the world, whether it was some sin, financial mistake, whatever it is, guess what?

 

He is willing. 

 

Watch two honest hearts hitting each other right here. A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you’re willing, you can make me clean.” 

 

Here’s a caveat about prayer. You don’t have to have big faith to pray. You just have to take the faith you do have and pray with it.

 

Some people say, “I don’t feel like praying. I’m kind of mad at God.” That’s a good time to pray. “I don’t feel like praying. I don’t believe he’ll do anything.” Still pray! God can take a mustard seed level of your faith when you are honest with Him. Like, “I know You’re powerful. I just don’t know if You want to be powerful in my life. I know You can heal anything. I don’t know if You want to heal my marriage. I don’t know if You want to heal my family.

 

Do you see that honesty? Don’t hold doubt inside of yourself, and don’t let any kind of doubt or unbelief keep you from praying. The leper’s prayer doesn’t sound like a prayer full of faith.

 

It sounds like an honest man going, “I know you can. I just don’t know if you want to for me.” If you live long enough, you’re going to feel that in your life: “I know I’m filthy, and I know I look awful to the world, and I know that my sin is an embarrassment. I know you can. I just don’t know if you want to.”

 

Then we see Jesus. He’s not a stoic Savior. He responds, “I am willing.” This is emotional to Him. The Bible says, “moved with compassion.” It’s a weird Greek word. It’s only used when it comes to Jesus because He’s the only one who operated like this. 

 

When the leper said, “If you’re willing, you can make me clean,” it was a gut punch. It literally meant in the stomach. Jesus got punched in the stomach by the question. Moved with compassion, He said, “Of course I’m willing. This is what I do. I heal people. I deliver people. Like my love is on the line. My love is being questioned. My value to a broken person is being questioned.” He’s like, “Dude, if you don’t get anything else, you’ve got to know how willing I am!”

 

This is wired into the heart of our God. Now, this is not wired into the heart of just a normal guy. There’s a difference between mamas and daddies. Like, Brooke will be holding our baby: “Oh, cute baby, cute baby. Sweet baby’s passing around.” And then you can tell, “Oh, she’s getting a little sick. I think she’s going to spit up.” And our baby would spit up, and Brooke would do something that I’ve never seen a man do. She’d catch it in her hand. “Blech!” “Ah! Got it!” She’s like, “Oh, it’s okay. It’s okay!” And she hadn’t even lost the closeness. She’s like, “Oh, oh, this is so sweet.”

 

You know? I mean, just at a hint that they’re gonna spit up. I mean, my arm gets locked out like this. I hold them like they’re a car seat and I’m just walking around like they’re gonna spit up. They’re not spitting up. They’re gonna spit up. I’m dropping her in 3, 2, 1 it’s just like, I can’t touch it.

 

This is a terrible illustration, but listen to me. There is a willingness that we don’t get that’s in the heart of God. When you go, I’m too awful to love, I’m too awful for a second chance, God’s gonna give me plan B, I don’t know if He is willing to restore my life. Of course I’m willing. I get, Jesus is always willing to enter the mess.

 

But I made the mess. He said, okay, I know you did. I saw you do it. Let me enter the mess of your life.

 

He is willing. 

 

2. JESUS CLEANSES OUR SOUL. 

 

He does something backwards here in my opinion. I don’t mean to tell God what to do. It just comes naturally!

 

Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. 

 

This is illegal. Jesus said, “I’m willing.” Then he said, “Be clean. And the leprosy left him.” He got this backwards. Listen to me. He should have healed him, and then touched him. He should have healed the leprosy and go, “Alright, you’re healed! Now you’re touchable.” 

 

Could Jesus have healed him in different ways? Yes or no? Could he have just spoken to him and said, “Alright, back up!”? This would have been my approach. If it was Marcus, heal him. I’d say, “Okay, I can do that from over here, though… Alright, be healed!” Could he have done that? Yes. Could he have just thought it in his mind, and the leper was healed? Yes, He could have. He could have just thrown some dirt on him. He could have had somebody dunk him in the sea. 

 

But He touches him. Why? Jesus sees us from the inside out, not the outside in. So Jesus looked at his soul, and his soul was more sick than his body. And when He looked…

 

We can only get to know somebody after years. We start going, “Oh, now I finally got to know their heart.” Right? Maybe it takes months for some, and other people wear their hearts on their sleeves. It gets on my nerves a little bit, but some people are like that. It takes us a while to get to know people, but it takes Jesus no time to get to know the real you. 

 

And he looked at him and knew, the first thing that has to be healed is his soul, perhaps thinking, “He hasn’t been touched in decades. He has been lonely and hopeless and on his last straw. The whole world could see what’s wrong on the outside, but I see what’s wrong on the inside.” Do you know that your soul and the condition of your soul is supreme to Jesus?

 

Even in the animal kingdom, animals need touch to bond. Some of them need touch just to survive. Some of you have a dog at your house. You sit down, that dog just puts his head under your hand, flips it up. Cats don’t do that because they’re demonic, but they just put their hands under there. Right? 

 

Babies can’t develop without physical touch. When kids get hurt, they want mama, they want her hands on them. I remember I got in a motorcycle wreck when I was a young teenager. It wasn’t a motorcycle. It was a moped. Ok, it’s just hard to say. It was a moped wreck. But I was operating something close to a Harley, right?

 

When I wrecked, a rock stuck into and buried into my kneecap. It hurt so bad! I just looked at it, and I knew I could not get it out. I was laying on the ground, and Mom gets down on her knees and asked, “What do you want me to do?” I said, “Put your hand on my head and pray!” Right? Because sometimes that just makes it better.

 

If you’re afraid, you want dad. You just want some sort of physical touch. And when it comes to dating, I remember the first time Brook Fowler and I held hands. Praise God! A new anointing came on my life. Amen! I can conquer the world holding hands! 

 

There’s something about the power of physical touch. This guy had not been touched. It was illegal. And Jesus looks at him and he goes, “Here you go. One touch. Before I heal you physically, I want the love and the closeness of a holy God to heal everything that’s wrong beneath the skin first. I want a restored mind, restored heart, and a healed soul. You are highly favored. You are deeply loved.” 

 

You may say, “I feel like I’m a million miles away from God.” Nope, you’re one touch away from heaven. You may say, “My marriage is a million miles away from restoration.” Nope, it’s just one experience and the presence of God. One touch can heal the soul of anything going on in your life. Jesus cleanses the soul. 

 

Zephaniah 3 says, “The Lord your God in your midst, the mighty one will save.” 

 

Get this on an emotional level. God just doesn’t want you to know His love intellectually; He wants you to know it emotionally. You say, “Well. I thought feelings were of the devil.”

 

If it was, then you wouldn’t have any feelings. God wants you to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The Lord your God is in your midst. The Mighty One will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. Watch this, He will quiet you with His love. This is what happens with one touch of God in your life: I may be revved up, and He says, “Shh, hold on.” It’s like the RPMs go down. Isn’t that right? Peace comes in. He’s like, “Let me quiet that soul. I will rejoice over you with singing.” You’re one touch away from a redirection in your life. One touch, the leper is healed. One touch, the woman with the issue of blood is healed.

 

One touch. Listen! Thomas’ doubts were erased, and he went to India as a missionary. One touch can change your life forever. 

 

3. JESUS IS OUR EXCHANGE. 

 

Woo! He’s our exchange. 

 

However, he went out and began to proclaim the freeling to spread the matter. So that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city. But he was outside in deserted places, and they came to Him from every direction. 

 

Okay, two truths I want to teach you here. 

 

We all come to Christ as a leper. 

 

Every one of us. When Isaiah was describing what our sin looks like to God, dead in our sins, in Isaiah 1:5-7, he described leprosy. He said, “Man, you got sores on your head, you got open wounds all over your body, you are putrid before God.”

 

All of us come to Jesus as a leper needing to be cleansed. That’s why it’s silly for us to ever compare ourselves to anyone else. So let me ask you this question. Who are the lepers in our culture today? You’re a leper too. We all come to Jesus as a leper. That’s why it is so silly when you say, “Their leprosy is uglier than my leprosy. My leprosy is presentable leprosy.” You’re so blind! We all come to Christ going, “You gotta work on me; You gotta get your hands on my life. You’ve got to cleanse my heart.” 

 

We’re all in the same boat. Nobody’s better than anyone else. There’s something prophetic happening here. Catch it! Paul teaches this throughout his epistles. And you’re going to get a little glimpse of it right now:

 

So, we have Tommy coming up on stage right now. Tommy’s going to be, (speaks to Tommy): You’re gonna be a leper and I’m gonna be Jesus. Alright, here we go. So, as a leper, I need you to stand right here. So, as Jesus, I’ll stand right there. Don’t move off that tape. 

 

So, watch what happens. When he encounters Jesus, Jesus is in a public place, and this dude’s in a lonely place. Jesus is on the inside being able to do anything and everything he wanted to do, right? But when he heals the man, Jesus takes his place. Right here. And he, you gotta see this image. He took his place.

 

Now watch what happens. He’s relegated to the deserted, lonely, obscure places. Where this guy just was, Jesus took his place. And Jesus took my place.

 

But that’s just the half of it. Jesus doesn’t put us in our place. Wouldn’t that be something? That’s what we want to do. I put them in their place. I gave them a piece of my mind. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a piece of it. 

 

Jesus doesn’t put you in your place. Watch what He does with this guy. He put him in His place. Now this guy’s in public areas. He has no limitations. He can do anything he wants to do with his life because Jesus took his place, but He didn’t just take his place.

 

He goes, “Now you get to stand in the place I was just in.” You get a little bit of a painting of this A little bit of a whisper in this. And then, look at Ephesians chapter 5. This is a theological truth that you’ve got to get in your spirit:

 

For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us. 

 

What happened? He took my place. And that would be enough for me to worship him my whole life. And some of you, this is the only way you see yourself. You see that Jesus took your place, forgave you, and you are thankful for that. But that’s just the half of it. Watch this:

 

So that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. 

 

So that I can be in His place. 

 

It’s not that He just forgave me. I get to stand before my Father in Heaven as a cherished son and a cherished daughter. 

 

This thinking, this is the last bit of shame that Satan keeps over you: Well, I’m just kind of the black sheep of the church. I’m the black sheep of the heavenly family. No, you’re not. Because he didn’t just take your place. He put you in his place

 

What does that mean? I’m beloved. I’m favored. I’m the apple of his eye.

 

God sees you as if you never sinned once. Because all He sees in you is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. So he doesn’t see your mistakes that He wiped away. He sees you clothed in a holy, righteous garment. And all of heaven goes, “They were just as pure as Jesus ever was.” 

 

This has got to give you confidence in your faith and thankfulness in your worship. Yes, my sins are forgiven, but I stand boldly. I come praying to God boldly before the throne because He put me in His place, too. 

 

I believe the Lord wants to speak to our hearts this morning. So I want you to bow your heads and close your eyes. Let the Spirit of the Lord speak to you. See what God wants to do.

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