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Feb 12, 2012 주일(신현철 목사)

2012.02.12 22:35

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 제목: 회복되어 깨끗하게 되었더라 
 

              성경: 열왕기하 5:1~14, 마가복음 1:40~45

 

              열왕기하 5:1~14

              1 아람 왕의 군대 장관 나아만은 그의 주인 앞에서 크고 존귀한 자니 이는 여호와께서 전에 그에게 아람을 구원하게 하셨음이라

                 그는 큰 용사이나 나병환자더라

              2 전에 아람 사람이 떼를 지어 나가서 이스라엘 땅에서 어린 소녀 하나를 사로잡으매 그가 나아만의 아내에게 수종들더니

              3 그의 여주인에게 이르되 우리 주인이 사마리아에 계신 선지자 앞에 계셨으면 좋겠나이다 그가 그 나병을 고치리이다 하는지라

              4 나아만이 들어가서 그의 주인께 아뢰어 이르되 이스라엘 땅에서 온 소녀의 말이 이러이러하더이다 하니

              5 아람 왕이 이르되 갈지어다 이제 내가 이스라엘 왕에게 글을 보내리라 하더라 나아만이 곧 떠날새 은 십 달란트와 금 육천 개와

                 의복 열 벌을 가지고 가서

              6 이스라엘 왕에게 그 글을 전하니 일렀으되 내가 내 신하 나아만을 당신에게 보내오니 이 글이 당신에게 이르거든

                 당신은 그의 나병을 고쳐 주소서 하였더라

              7 이스라엘 왕이 그 글을 읽고 자기 옷을 찢으며 이르되 내가 사람을 죽이고 살리는 하나님이냐 그가 어찌하여 사람을

                 내게로 보내 그의 나병을 고치라 하느냐 너희는 깊이 생각하고 저 왕이 틈을 타서 나와 더불어 시비하려 함인줄 알라 하니라

              8 하나님의 사람 엘리사가 이스라엘 왕이 자기의 옷을 찢었다 함을 듣고 왕에게 보내 이르되 왕이 어찌하여 옷을 찢었나이까

                 그 사람을 내게로 오게 하소서 그가 이스라엘 중에 선지자가 있는 줄을 알리이다 하니라

              9 나아만이 이에 말들과 병거들을 거느리고 이르러 엘리사의 집문에 서니

            10 엘리사가 사자를 그에게 보내 이르되 너는 가서 요단 강에 몸을 일곱 번 씻으라 네 살이 회복되어 깨끗하리라 하는지라

            11 나아만이 노하여 물러가며 이르되 내 생각에는 그가 내게로 나와 서서 그의 하나님 여호와의 이름을 부르고

                 그의 손을 그 부위 위에 흔들어 나병을 고칠까 하였도다

            12 다메섹 강 아마나와 바르발은 이스라엘 모든 강물보다 낫지 아니하냐 내가 거기서 몸을 씻으면 깨끗하게 되지 아니하랴 하고

                 몸을 돌려 분노하여 떠나니

            13 그의 종들이 나아와서 말하여 이르되 내 아버지여 선지자가 당신에게 큰 일을 행하라 말하였더면 행하지 아니하였으리이까

                 하물며 당신에게 이르기를 씻어 깨끗하게 하라 함이리이까 하니

            14 나아만이 이에 내려가서 하나님의 사람의 말대로 요단 강에 일곱 번 몸을 잠그니 그의 살이 어린 아이의 살 같이 회복되어

                 깨끗하게 되었더라

 

             마가복음 1:40~45

            40 한 나병환자가 예수께 와서 꿇어 엎드려 간구하여 이르되 원하시면 저를 깨끗하게 하실 수 있나이다

            41 예수께서 불쌍히 여기사 손을 내밀어 그에게 대시며 이르시되 내가 원하노니 깨끗함을 받으라 하신니

            42 곧 나병이 그 사람에게서 떠나가고 깨끗하여진지라

            43 곧 보내시며 엄히 경고하사

            44 이르시되 삼가 아무에게 아무 말도 하지 말고 가서 네 몸을 제사장에게 보이고 네 깨끗하게 되었으니

                모세가 명한 것을 드려 그들에게 입증하라 하셨더라

            45 그러나 그 사람이 나가서 이 일을 많이 전파하여 널리 퍼지게 하니 그러므로 예수께서 다시는 드러나게 동네에

                 들어가지 못하시고 오직 바깥 한적한 곳에 계셨으나 사방에서 사람들이 그에게로 나아오더라

 
1..
Do you see what the two passages that we read today have in common? Both passages talk about a character that has leprosy. The passage from 2 Kings is a story of Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Aram, who goes to see Elisha and is healed of leprosy. Similarly, the passage from Mark is a story of a leper who goes to see Jesus and is healed of leprosy. Often, our attitudes toward these passages are those toward fictional stories. This is because we think that the passages are not relevant to us. For us, it is difficult and not common to meet a person who is suffering ­from leprosy. As a result, we do not take these verses very seriously. But the Bible talks of the disease too many times for us to simply ignore it.  The entire chapter 13 of Leviticus talks of leprosy. Also, the New Testament includes many passages of Jesus healing people of leprosy. In fact, the verse from Mark that we read today appears also in Chapter 8 of Matthew and Chapter 5 of Luke. For this incident to be recorded by all three synoptic Gospel writers, it must have been a highly important event.
Furthermore, Chapter 17 of Luke mentions a group of ten lepers who go to visit Jesus. Chapter 26 of Matthew mentions that Jesus is at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper. In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus says to his disciples, “As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” So if you see it this way, healing lepers is a very important ministry… Now, the problem is to understand how this relates to us today.
2.
The first thing we need to understand is that ‘leprosy’ mentioned in the Bible is not Hansen’s disease (what the people today commonly associate with the word ‘leprosy’). In the Bible, ‘leprosy’ is derived from a word that means “to peel (something like a shell, a scale, or a skin).” In other words, any type of skin disease is called ‘leprosy’ (λεπρός) in the Bible.
A few days ago, I found a pimple on my nose and it was red and infected. (And so my children kept calling me Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.) If I had been living in the Old Testament, it would have been seen as a much more serious case than “just a pimple.” Leviticus 13:2 says, "When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a bright spot on his skin that may become an infectious skin disease, he must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest.”
Further, Leviticus 13:3 says, “The priest is to examine the sore on his skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is an infectious skin disease. When the priest examines him, he shall pronounce him ceremonially unclean.”
So what happens to the people who are identified to have leprosy? Leviticus 13:45-46 says,  "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”
Such a “leper” must keep shouting to let other people know that he has a contagious disease. How embarrassing and degrading would his life be?
At the time of poor sanitation, it was not rare to have “leprosy.” Anyone who had this disease was to be isolated immediately from the community. So many people were afraid of “leprosy,” not because it was fatal, but because being declared of having this disease would have made them alienated from the society… (11) So what do you think the people would have done if they came into contact with a “leper”? “Leprosy” was considered a disease that would bring complete alienation. Gradually, as religious meanings were also added, “leprosy” was considered the most corrupt disease of all. 
This is the same for Hansen’s disease. The cure for this disease has already been developed since the 1940s. Since the 1980s, the disease has been considered treatable with roughly about 6 months to 1 year of treatment. (13) Nowadays, 99.99% of the Hansen’s disease can be cured with the help of a drug called Rifampicin. So there is no problem for a person diagnosed with Hansen’s disease to live amongst the general public. However, many people who have the disease are currently isolated from the society. This is not because of any pathological reasons but because of the social prejudices and the preconceived notions of the sick people that still exist today…
 So what do “leprosy” (mentioned in the Bible) and Hansen’s disease have in common? The people who have either disease are not at the perilous risk of dying, but they are the same as dead in their society. They are all already terminated in their community. So how lonely would they be? How much badly would they be longing to come back into the community and share the warm love with others?
 I think there is a reason for leprosy being mentioned many times in the Bible…  The Bible suggests that during the time of Jesus, there were many people who were isolated from others and the society. The Bible hints that at the time, there were many outcasts from the community, people who were bullied by others, and those who lost their dignity due to social prejudice and indifference… Since Jesus came to this world to heal these “lepers,” the Bible thus simply cannot ignore their stories. In the end, the stories of the lepers in the Bible are related to us. In fact, they are stories of our own…
A week before last week, we thought about the sick and the demon-possessed living in a temple (Chapter 1 of Mark). I have told you that if we have our thoughts and minds taken by the evil, we are all sick and demon-possessed, even when we are in church. Such people are those who need to be cured, and Jesus will come inside those people to heal them. We live our life in this world, but we may be caught in the alienation like the lepers in the Bible did.  We can easily be excluded from a community that was created for the purpose of gathering those who share common characteristics or interests. But the most serious problem is the estrangement from God.
So although today’s passages talk about ‘leprosy’, if you look closely, you will understand that they are about ‘alienation and division.’ These passages will help you to understand how you can overcome ‘alienation and division’ through Elisha the prophet of God and through the meeting with Jesus Christ.
3.
Let us consider Naaman’s story first. What kind of person is Naaman? According to 2 Kings 5:1, “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.” At the time, Ben-Hadad 1 the king of Aram had had a war with the Northern Israel for quite some time. Meanwhile, a young girl who was taken captive from Israel served Naaman’s wife. “She said to her mistress, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy."” (5:3) Now, having heard this, Naaman becomes desperate and immediately asks the king for permission to go to Israel to be cured of the disease.

When the king of Aram allows this and delivers the message to the king of Israel, what does the king of Israel do? “As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God?Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!"” (5:7)

So, “when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: "Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel." Eventually, Naaman goes to see Elisha. After much meandering, Naaman finally dips himself in the Jordan seven times and is cured of the disease.

However, while reflecting on today’s scripture, I began to wonder, ‘Why did Elisha cleanse Naaman?’At the time the people of Aram and the Israelites were not in a good relationship. Although not in midst of war, they were constantly looking for an opportunity to start one. Naturally, does it not seem like a good thing for the Israelites, that the commander of the Aram army was ill with leprosy? And yet, Naaman was healed in Israel.
I personally believe that the ‘why’ here is very important. In other words, although it is important for us to see that Naaman, a person with leprosy and thus should have been quarantined, was healed, this scripture also serves as a warning to the Israelites. It shows that although the Israelites think that they know God and is walking alongside him, in reality, they too, are detached from God.
When Elisha says “Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel” in verse 8, this line is not only directed toward the Aramian army, their king and Naaman, but also to Israel – Elisha wanted to show his own people that the power, the words and the people of God are still present in Israel. At the time, the king of Israel was Joram, the son of Ahab. When we look at chapter 3 verse 2 of Kings II, it reads, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Both the king and the people of Israel had separated themselves from God, they were ‘self-quarantined.’ Thus, through hearing that a foreigner was healed of leprosy in Israel, Elisha wanted to warn the people in Israel who are living here, and yet are becoming distant from God. In verse 2 we see a young girl taken captive from Israel. Although she is far away from her home, her faith toward God has not been separated. Since without it, she wouldn’t have been able to tell her mistress of Elisha and his ability to heal leprosy. In contrast the King of Israel responds to Aramian King’s letter with “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cursed of his leprosy?” The fact that Jehob couldn’t heal Naaman was obvious; however, when we look at how Naaman came to Israel and he dipped himself in the Jordan seven times despite the fact that he didn’t know anything about God, we must wonder… Who is really the one who doesn’t know anything about God here. In other words, while Naaman gradually began to align himself with the words of God, the people of Israel turned their backs on his words and were distancing themselves further and further.
Simply put, this scripture asks who really is the one with leprosy, who really is the one ‘quarantined’ from God.
4.
In Mark, we see Jesus healing a man with leprosy. Verse 40 says, ‘A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”’ As I have mentioned previously, in “The person with such infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’” In today’s scripture we see that there were a lot of people already gathered around Jesus and thus it would have been difficult for this man to approach Jesus. Just as Naaman visited Elisha, this man came up to Jesus believing that by meeting Jesus Christ, he will once again be connected and welcomed into society. When we think about others who were unable to approach Jesus due to their societal status and the perception of others, this man with leprosy may have already won the battle against his illness as he came up to Jesus. In this moment that the man approached Jesus a miracle occurred, ‘Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean.”’
The ‘filled with compassion’ here is σπλαγχνίζομαι (read, Splagchnizomai) and is usually used when Jesus heals or sees starving people; connoting mercy and heart. Although the world has separated themselves from this man with leprosy, Jesus is looking at him with heart-filled warmth and mercy, just like a mother who is looking at her newly born child for the first time.
Jesus not only felt mercy and warmth toward the man, he also touched him, as shown in verse 41. The thing for us to remember here is that Jesus didn’t necessarily have to touch this man in order to heal him; however, he did. Why? Because he wanted to help the man take his first step toward reconnecting with the world.
Just as Jesus bridged the men with the heavens, he bridged this patient with the world.
 I believe that this is the gospel. The gospel is when God approached men, who have been alienated from God, who have lost the paradise, and touched us.
 

5.

In summary, today’s scripture is about leprosy victims who were living in this world but was completely separated from the world. However, when we really think about it, this is the story of our lives – separated, quarantined and distanced from God. The reason why we must meet Jesus Christ today is right here. Because through him, the bridge of the heavens comes down to the earth and we become free from our estranged lives. I hope that we are cleansed and healed today and that alienation and separation will disappear. When we approach God, and he reaches out to us with mercy, I’d like for our lives to be re-connected with him through the bridge. For the next week, I hope that we will, like the leprosy victims, go up to God. I’d like for us to live like Naaman who dipped himself in the Jordan seven times and that through God’s touch we will be cured.