The Sunday school lesson today was taken from Mark 1:29-45. I have lots of thoughts about this passage, but tonight I'm going to focus on just one of them. Take a look at verses 40-45:
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.The question offered about this passage was, "The healed man went out and told people about Jesus when Jesus had told him not to. Was this a bad thing to do?"
To me the passage states that Jesus had asked the man to keep quiet. I can see the difficulty of doing this. If you had been healed from leprosy, wouldn't you find it hard to keep quiet, out of your joy in what had happened? And wouldn't it be hard to not explain it when you were once very sick, and now you were not? I can see how easy it would be to disobey, and how hard it would be to obey Jesus.
But the question asked if this was disobedience. I think it was. I think Jesus asked the man to keep it quiet for a reason. Because the man did not, Jesus had to make alternate plans. He had to go out into country instead of staying in the town. People did come to him, and that had to be a good thing, I would think, but I don't think it was the original plan.
I think this is an example of the circumstantial will of God. Jesus willed one thing. He had to take a different path because of our disobedience. His ultimate will was done, but not in the way that might have been the easiest or the way that was in the original plan.
How often do we complicate the plan? How often does God have to steer his actions in the world through a detour because of what we do?
This seemed to be a hard question for our class to answer, but I think the ex-leper disobeyed. I see why he did it, but the fact is (in my opinion) he did disobey. I don't know why the class seemed reluctant to say that. Why would it surprise us?