Our Bible passage comes right after the story of Jesus healing Simon Peter’s motherin-law. Word spread, and soon everyone in the neighbourhood was beating a path to Jesus’ door to have their ailments fixed. In a day when medicine had not yet advanced to include antibiotics, analgesics, sophisticated surgical techniques, and many of the medical remedies we take for granted today, how urgently his help must have been sought!
The passage has been quoted from the KJV rather than the NIV because of the part near the end which says that Jesus, looking at the man with leprosy, was “moved with compassion”. The NIV says, “Jesus was indignant”, which communicates less fully the response to our troubles that we see in Jesus.
It is interesting to see in this passage how Jesus divides his time between
solitary prayer in the peace of the hills, confronting by exorcism evil that has a grip on people, healing the sick, and preaching the good news. And we know that he also made time to teach his disciples, guiding them and discussing spiritual truths with them.
In establishing our own priorities, we might like to make a study of this passage. Perhaps we could establish four areas of priority: quiet times to nurture and strengthen our spirit, time for sharing truth and insight with others, working to bring peace and well-being in our own community, and standing up against evil where we are confronted with it.
You made us, God of love; you understand us, and you make us whole. Today we offer you our lives and hearts, asking you to look deeply into us, and heal us. Where you find anything poisonous or dangerous, please cut it out and burn it, so it can do no more damage. Where we are weak and fragile, please strengthen us by the presence of your Spirit. Where we are bruised and broken, please salve us with your kindness and splint us with your steady strength. And please nourish by your word and your Spirit whatever is good in our hearts and lives; for we ask this in Jesus’ holy name; Amen.