Day 1: Read Mark 1:40-42. Jesus was on a mission to declare that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He preached and spread this good news so that people could repent and believe. However, Jesus did not just preach with words; He proved His authority with miracles. He cast out demons and healed the sick. One day, a man came to Jesus who was suffering from leprosy. He was sick with a terrible disease that would likely cause horrific suffering and even death. Furthermore, he was probably contagious, so everyone was afraid of him. People likely wondered why this man had been cursed by God. Had he or his parents committed some terrible sin that had incurred God’s wrath? This leper was isolated from society and alone with no hope. Yet, he had hope. There were stories that there was a man named Jesus who could do incredible things. He could perform miracles and heal the sick. So, the leper stepped out in faith, saying to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Imagine yourself in the leper’s place feeling alone and overwhelmed. Did you or do you feel like Jesus can be trusted with your situation? Talk to God about it.
Day 2: Read Mark 1:40-42. When confronted by the leper, Jesus was deeply and emotionally moved. Most English translations translate verse forty-one to say that Jesus was, “moved with compassion” or pity. However, others translate the text as, “Jesus was indignant.” While there is some debate over the meaning of this passage, one thing is clear: Jesus did not heal this man solely to prove His authority. This was not some cold calculated act that only served Jesus’ divine plan. Instead, here in this passage, we see a deeply human Jesus. Jesus is not some aloof deity with no time for us mere mortals. Instead, this is a real man with real human emotions dealing with real life. Are you able to believe that Jesus is God? Does He have the power and authority to do the impossible in your life? Is there also room in your faith to believe that Jesus is truly human, and that He has intimately experienced the frailty, stench, and emotions of real human life? As was said on Sunday, can you trust in the goodness of Jesus?
Day 3: Read Mark 1:38-45. Jesus’ plan was to enter villages and preach in their synagogues. It seems quite likely that this is the reason that Jesus sternly warned the leper not to tell anyone that Jesus had healed him. Jesus didn’t want to draw too much attention too quickly. He didn’t want the crowds to get out of control before He had the opportunity to preach His message. Jesus knew what the consequence would be for healing the leper. In fact, it would have served His plan better to refuse to heal this man altogether. Yet, Jesus said, “I am willing.” Jesus’ compassion for the leper outweighed His own desires. The cool part is, this is the same Jesus we gather for in order to worship, pray to and learn about. Jesus still has compassion for us today. Where have you seen compassion in your life? What is the most compassion God shown you?
Day 4: Read Matthew 8:1-4 & Luke 5:12-15. Being a Christian or Christ-follower means that we seek to know and become more like Jesus. But what does that actually look like for us day to day? Are we to walk around casting out demons and healing the sick? I suppose that it is still possible through the power of the Holy Spirit, and yet, I believe that we can still be Christ-like if we don’t manifest miracles like that. Are there sick people around you? Do we know anyone who is without hope? When you think about the people that Jesus cared about, does it make you think of anyone in particular? When Jesus saw these people, His emotions were stirred, He was willing, and He took action. Take some time to reflect on this. Don’t be content to just believe that we Jesus is full of compassion. Ask God to show you how to express compassion to someone in your life today.
Day 5: Read Mark 1:14-45. Sometimes when I read about miracles in the Bible, it can seem to good to be true. I can almost catch myself reading the gospels like they are a fairy tale with made up stories that are designed to teach some moral truth or principle. Honestly, it’s not just the miracles that are hard to believe. God’s compassion, love, and endless mercy are difficult to process as well. But what if these stories really happened? What if the world the Bible takes place in is actually still the world we live in? What if the Kingdom of God has actually come near? Wouldn’t that change how we live? Wouldn’t that mean that our own happiness and prosperity isn’t the goal to life? For Christ-followers, Jesus’ Kingdom mission now becomes our mission. How does that change your outlook on the day?