As I was reading the Word this week, I came across a story that I’ve read many times before–the story of Jesus healing a leper. You can find the specific narrative I read in Mark 1:40-45:
And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded [see Leviticus 14:1-32], as a testimony to them.’ But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
Now, we could spend all day discussing how this healed leper disobeyed Jesus’ warning not to tell anyone what had been done for him. Instead, I want to focus on the cool thing that happened in spite of his disobedience.
The Bible tells us that God works everything out for the good of those who love Him. After being healed from leprosy, I’m sure this man loved Jesus and because of that love, he just couldn’t keep the news of his healing quiet. The cool thing is that God used this disobedience to touch a multitude of people.
As this man spread the news of his healing, Jesus became more and more famous. Finally, so many people in the city had heard of Jesus’ miraculous work that He couldn’t even enter the city without being recognized as a miracle worker; the people did not yet know that He was God in flesh. The Bible says that Jesus stayed in unpopulated areas to avoid being recognized, but that was not enough–people still came from all over the region of Galilee and found Him.
This wasn’t Jesus’ first miracle. His first recorded miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Sometime after Cana, Jesus traveled to Capernaum and performed several miracles there. Each time Jesus went somewhere and performed miracles, there was usually at least one person who went around spreading the news of His miracles, whether He asked them to or not. This is how the power of Jesus was made known to people.
This is also true today. The way our friends and family discover the power and love of Jesus is through our testimonies. You might think you don’t have a testimony because you’ve never experienced a miraculous healing or something supernatural, but that’s not true! Maybe you’ve never gotten involved in any really bad stuff like drugs or witchcraft, so you think you don’t have anything to share about the power of God, but the opposite is true!
I’ve met so many girls who have been in church their entire lives and never really gotten involved in bad stuff, but that is one of the greatest testimonies of all! That shows the true power of living a life for God, and it gives hope to those of us who have dealt with the “bad stuff”– it shows people that God can and does give us the power to walk away from the bad.
I don’t know what the man Jesus healed was like in life, but I know that his testimony affected so many people that Jesus couldn’t even continue to enter his city because so many people wanted to be with Him. There are people in our world today who don’t own Bibles and who’ve never heard of Jesus. There are people we know who’ve heard of Jesus, but don’t know anything about Him. Our testimonies about what Jesus has done in our lives are way more powerful for these people than a story from the Bible ever could be because they’re personal.
Have you used your testimony to increase Jesus’ fame?
There is none like You, O Lord; You are great, and great is Your name in might (Jeremiah 10:6).