There was nothing more she could do for the baby without a hot water bottle. And if it didn’t come before nightfall, it would be too late. The only problem was there were no hot water bottles to be had. Helen Roseveare was a missionary-doctor in Zaire, Africa (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and all the hot water bottles she’d brought with her had broken. When Helen asked the children at the mission station to pray with her, one of the girls began immediately. “Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely.” That afternoon Helen unusually received a large package from England. Eagerly she opened it with the children. Underneath some clothing she saw a hot water bottle! The girl who had prayed began digging through the rest of the box saying, “If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!” Sure enough there was a doll – which God had moved His people to send five months earlier to arrive just in time. In Mark 1:40-45 we read the story of a man who needed help – help that only Jesus could give. Study the passage to learn more about what to do when only Jesus can help you.
As the Author of the Bible, God is the one who fully understands it. Ask Him to help you understand it as only He can. He loves to answer that prayer when it is offered in genuine faith.
Read Focus Verses
Read Mark 1:40-45 looking for what it tells us about the Lord Jesus.
Looking at the context can help us better understand the passage we're studying. Read the passage immediately before today's passage, Mark 1:32-39, to see what has been recorded last.
What has been recorded just before today's story?
What kind of person came to Jesus in today's passage?
When He Got There
What did the leper do when he got to Jesus?
What He Said
What did the leper say to Jesus?
What was Jesus' internal response to the man?
What did Jesus do for the man in verse 41?
What did Jesus say to him in verse 41?
What happened as soon as Jesus spoke?
What directions did Jesus give to the man?
What did the man do?
What was the result of the man's action?
Keywords - Jesus Christ
Marking the words referring to Jesus will help you see Him as the main character of these verses.
Mark the words naming or referring to Jesus in Mark 1:40-45.
Keyword - Prayer
Marking the man's prayer will help it stand out to you.
Mark the man's prayer in verse 40.
In Your Words
Retell today's story in your own words.
To understand the need of the man in today's story and the wonder of Jesus' response, we need to look into what the Old Testament says about leprosy. Let's start in Leviticus chapter 13:45-46 and notice what leprosy meant to the daily life of a person in Israel.
In Numbers 19:22 we see how separate a leper's life had to be from others.
God describes what He means by leprosy in Leviticus 13. There are several manifestations of it, and God gave careful instructions to make sure that those who did not have the disease were not pronounced unclean. Read about the first type of leprosy and its test in Leviticus 13:1-8 (you can read the rest of the chapter to learn about more of them if you have time).
Imagine what it must have been like to have this disease in Israel.
The religious leaders of that day wrongly taught that leprosy was always a direct result of specific sin. How would that impact the way people thought about those with leprosy?
Luke 5:12-15 gives us another perspective on the same story that today's passage recounts.
How does this account add to what we know about the leper?
Naaman the Leper
The fascinating account of Naaman's healing in 2 Kings 5:1-16 shows us very clearly who is able to heal leprosy.
Who can heal leprosy?
By declaring his faith that Jesus could heal his leprosy, what was the man in today's passage saying about Jesus?
How He Came
What do we learn about the leper by the way he approached Jesus in verse 40?
How He Asked
Take a closer look at the word which tells us how this man asked Jesus to heal him. From the context in the verse (his kneeling and the rest of what he said) you'll be able to see which of the uses of the word is intended in today's passage.
Origin: from (3844) and (2564)
- to call to one's side, call for, summon
- to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
- to admonish, exhort
- to beg, entreat, beseech
- to strive to appease by entreaty
- to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
- to receive consolation, be comforted
- to encourage, strengthen
- exhorting and comforting and encouraging
- to instruct, teach
Pray This Way
We see instruction that we are to pray in the same way in Philippians 4:6-7.
How does today's story help us better understand what the instruction in Philippians 4:6-7 looks like?
In today's passage, what does the man say he believes (or, in other words what does he have faith in)?
In Ephesians 6:18-20 we see the humility of prayer - coming with petitions and waiting on the Lord to answer.
Hebrews 4:14-16 tells Christians to pray with boldness.
Humility and Boldness
James 1:5-8 shows us the need for both humility and boldness in our prayers.
In Real Life
How do we see both humility and boldness in the man's prayer?
According to His Will
In 1 John 5:14-15 we see what Christians can have boldness in as they pray. It's the same thing that gave the leper in today's story his boldness.
What gives Christians confidence as they pray? How do we see this confidence in the leper's prayer in today's passage?
Look at the use of the word that tells us about Jesus' internal response to the man's prayer.
Origin: middle voice from (4698)
- to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)
What does Jesus' internal response to this man tell us about God's heart?
What does Jesus' internal response tell us about how God thinks about one who prays with humble boldness and faith?
Often when Jesus healed people, He touched them - even though, as today's passage clearly states, it was His words that healed them. Think about it, what would that touch have meant to them? Why did Jesus touch them?
What does that teach us about how to show love and compassion to others (when possible and appropriate)?
Words of Power
The first verses of the Bible show us the power of God's words. Read Genesis 1:1-5 with this in mind.
By His Word
Hebrews 11:3 reminds us of the wonder of this.
What do these verses along with today's passage teach us about the power of God's Word?
If natural things immediately obey God's Word, what does it teach us our response should be?
What does it tell us about the Lord Jesus that He wanted to heal this man who was considered an outcast by most people?
What does Jesus telling us He wanted to heal this man and restore him to society teach Christians about loving people?
Have you ever noticed that Jesus essentially repeated the man's words back to him when He granted the man's request? If God did that with your prayers, what would you receive?
Leviticus 14:1-20 is the part of the Law of Moses that Jesus is referring to when he gives the leper the commands in verse 44 of today's passage. Especially notice the final words of the passage and what they must have meant to the healed person. (Just a note: Leviticus 14:21-32 goes on to make provision for the leper who may not be able to afford the sacrifices in the previous verses.)
Perhaps it seems that Jesus healing the man was sufficient evidence that he was clean. But before Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, the Law of Moses was still the way God's people obeyed Him. It was Jesus keeping the Law perfectly that fulfilled it. Notice what Jesus said about His relationship to the Law in Matthew 5:17.
In the last study, "Jesus in Private," from Mark 1:29-39, we saw that healing was not Jesus' main purpose. How does this help us understand Jesus' instruction to the man to not go around telling everyone about how Jesus had healed him?
How does the last verse of today's passage show us the wisdom of Jesus' command?
Read today's passage, Mark 1:40-45, once more.
Imagine that your best friend has a big problem and only God can help. How could you use this passage to help your friend ask God for the needed help?
How will you pray differently after seeing the humility and boldness of the leper's prayer?
How will you think about others differently after seeing the love and compassion of Jesus?
Is there something you need in your life that only God can do? How will you follow the example shown in today's passage?
We hope this study has helped you understand prayer and the Lord's heart better and has challenged you to come to God especially when only He can help you.
Please take a brief moment to provide us some feedback on this lesson. We're always striving to improve, and, with your help, we will.Click To Visit Website
Support our Ministry
Please join us in our quest to help the world discover the beauty of the Bible. Consider making a generous donation today.Click To Visit Website