1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Mark 1:40

ESV And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
NIV A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, 'If you are willing, you can make me clean.'
NASB And a man with leprosy *came to Jesus, imploring Him and kneeling down, and saying to Him, 'If You are willing, You can make me clean.'
CSB Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, "If you are willing, you can make me clean."
NLT A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. 'If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,' he said.
KJV And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

What does Mark 1:40 mean?

This verse introduces Mark's first specific account of Jesus' work in Galilee outside of Capernaum. We are unclear as to what, exactly, "leprosy" means as referenced in the Bible. Hansen's disease, which was noted in India as early as 600 BC, attacks the nervous system and disfigures the victim's skin and bones. But the biblical concept of leprosy encompasses a number of conditions, including "a swelling or an eruption or a spot" (Leviticus 13:2) and even mildew on fabric (Leviticus 13:47). Whatever the specifics, the consequence was disastrous. If a person was confirmed to have leprosy after being examined by a priest, he was to tear his clothes, let his hair hang loose, cover his upper lip, and cry out "Unclean, unclean," wherever he went. In addition, he had to live outside the settled areas to prevent the disease from spreading.

As painful or as inconvenient as the physical malady may have been, the social stigma was worse. Judaism lists any number of ways people could be "unclean," but most of those had an expiration date. Usually, cleanliness was available that evening after bathing, although longer periods are stipulated for childbirth. Someone suffering from a skin condition identified as leprosy was unclean until the condition was healed. Those who were unclean were unqualified from worshiping with others, including going to the temple. If the condition was incurable, their unclean state was permanent.

News of Jesus' healing power has reached this man who lived outside the cities. He responds with humility and faith, kneeling before Jesus and acknowledging the only thing standing between him and healing is Jesus' will. The man is not only asking for relief from his skin condition, but to be made clean. This would certainly include being physically healed, but also living and worshiping with others.

We don't have such strong restrictions regarding worship, yet we still sometimes look for an excuse to skip church. Of course, going to church with a highly contagious disease isn't a good idea, but if our priority was to worship God with other believers, the more minor inconveniences wouldn't keep us home.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: