Peace, Hope and Love in Christ to you this day.
The Old Testament and Gospel readings this week focus on the disease of leprosy. As many scripture commentaries point out, leprosy in the Bible is quite different from the leprosy we know today. Any skin condition whether it was acne, rosacea, some persistent rash or actual leprosy was called leprosy. Not knowing about these different skin conditions meant that everyone avoided the person with it for fear of contracting it. Today’s leprosy is called Hansen’s Disease, is caused by a couple of bacteria, and is curable with the proper medications when detected early. Here is the Wikipedia article on leprosy: Click here
Our readings this week are:
2 Kings 5:1-14 – The full story is contained in all of chapter 5. It is a story of faith, or the lack thereof, the finding of faith, the generosity of the prophet, and the greed of the prophet’s servant. What is the name of the man with leprosy? What is his job? Where does he come from? Who tells him about the prophet in Samaria? Where does his king send him (and it is not to the prophet) and what does his send with him? What is the response of the King of Israel? Who is the prophet of Samaria (Israel)? What are the prophet’s instructions to the man with leprosy? What is the man’s response? Who convinces him to follow the instructions? What happened? These questions only take us through verse 14, so please read the rest of the chapter for the full story.
Psalm 30 – In this Psalm of Praise the psalmist gives thanks to God for several things: for not letting his foes rejoice, for healing, and for life when he was near death. In verse 4, who does the psalmist call on to praise God? What are the 2 comparisons in verse 5? Verse 6 points to the psalmist being wealthy and having a attitude of self-sufficiency. In the last half of verse 7, how did the psalmist experience God? What is his plea in verses 8-10? What did God do in response to the psalmist’s plea (verses 11-12)?
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – This is a continuation of Paul’s argument that he tries to be all things to all people so that he may win a few to Christ which he does for the sake of the Gospel (verses 22-23). Here he uses an analogy of runners in a long distance race. He runs the race with purpose and not aimlessly. He “punishes his body” so that he may proclaim the message and not be disqualified. How many times in the last 20 years or so have we seen an evangelist lead many to Christ only to have some sexual or financial impropriety come to light that disgraces his/her ministry causing some to leave the faith?
Mark 1:40-45 – Who comes to Jesus and what does he ask Jesus to do? What emotion does Jesus experience and what does he do? (If your Bible has a footnote next to the emotion check it out. Ancient texts have two different words here. Most Bibles use the less strong emotion but I think the writer of Mark may have used the stronger emotion for Jesus.) As Jesus sends the man away, what does he tell him to do? What does the man in fact do and what is the result for Jesus?
Have a great week in God’s Word! May you be strengthened and moved to serve God and neighbor.