A man with a contagious, chronic, and personal community destroying skin disease falls in front of Jesus and asks for healing. “If you are willing,” the man adds.
It was a simple and understandable request. I’m guessing it happened more often that we have record of.
Jesus is emotional. Depending on the translation you are reading, he’s moved with compassion or pity, he’s indignant (at the disease or at the question of his willingness). He touches the man, saying “I am willing”. The man is free of the disease.
It’s a powerful small story for that man. Someone actually touched him, in a culture where that particular disease separated you from touch. It’s a powerful small glimpse of Jesus. He shows intense feeling about some aspect of the situation. He touches in a situation where he could have spoken (“Be clean” said from a distance would have worked.)
We can stop and draw lessons.
But this story is only part of the interaction between the man and Jesus.
Jesus warns the man not to talk to people. He directs the man to follow the rules of restoration and take his healed body to the priest, “as a testimony to them.” The man ignores the directions and tells everyone.
And Jesus can’t pursue the plan he had identified to Simon and the others of going from town to town and preaching. Having once chosen to go out to the solitary place to be alone, he’s now followed into the lonely places.
We could stop and draw lessons again, debating whether the man’s ignoring of the direct command of Jesus to not talk but go to the priest was a sinful disobedience or an understandable celebration. Or maybe both.
Mark doesn’t stop for discussions. The story isn’t told yet. Jesus keeps moving.
The story: Mark 1