What does Mark 1:41 mean?
ESV: Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."
NIV: Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"
NASB: Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and *said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed.'
CSB: Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. "I am willing," he told him. "Be made clean."
NLT: Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. 'I am willing,' he said. 'Be healed!'
KJV: And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
NKJV: Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is a God of compassion. When the man with leprosy asks for healing, Jesus is "moved with pity." Jesus feels the emotion of a man who desires healing and wholeness. In response, Jesus touches him. This is significant, since touching a leper would make a Jewish person unclean. It also raises the risk of contracting the infection. The man has likely not had human contact in some time, making a physical touch by Jesus highly significant.

The man had not merely asked for physical healing, but to be made "clean." Leprosy would have kept him from feast days, worshiping at the temple, and even living in a city. His priority is to return to civilization and to be able to worship God with other Jews. Jesus responds with, "be clean." The man is now not only healed of what was probably a painful condition, but also clear to worship God as he has been taught. Both he and Jesus realize the significance of this act: he is free to live his life again.

Leprosy has always been a metaphor for un-holiness, and this story encapsulates the gospel. We come to Jesus unclean, sick in our sin, incurable, hurting from the human condition, unreconciled from others, and separated from God. Jesus reaches out His hand and changes our whole lives. In His grace, He addresses all areas of our lives at once—physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, social—and most importantly makes us worthy to be in God's presence.
Verse Context:
Mark 1:21–45 opens a longer section describing the healing and preaching ministry of Jesus Christ. In this segment, Jesus impresses onlookers with His mastery of the Scriptures. He also amazes people with His authoritative style. During this teaching, Jesus heals a man afflicted with demonic possession. The resulting publicity brings a massive crowd to the home of Simon Peter, where Jesus is staying. Jesus heals Peters' mother-in-law of a fever, and cures a leper, before leaving the region to continue His ministry.
Chapter Summary:
John the Baptist is introduced as a figure preparing the world for the arrival of the Messiah. John's baptism teaches people about their need for repentance. When Jesus arrives, and is baptized, it signals the coming of God's fulfillment and the need of people to recognize their Savior. Mark briefly notes Jesus' baptism, desert temptation, and the calling of the first four disciples. After this, Jesus begins teaching in the synagogue and performs miraculous healings which spread His fame around the region.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of the Gospel of Mark sets the tone for the rest of the story. Mark's writing is concise, action-packed, and short on details. Within a few verses, Mark establishes the transition from the wilderness ministry of John the Baptist to the healing and preaching of Jesus Christ. This first chapter includes the calling of Jesus' earliest disciples, His early miracles, and His early teaching. This establishes the pattern shown throughout the Gospel of Mark, where Jesus mingles His teaching with miraculous signs.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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