Meet the king - Cleaning King - Mark 1:40-45

This is a family service talk by Malcolm Peters from the Riverside Church service on 3rd February 2008.

Click here to read the bible passage. Click here to use larger text.

Sam appears ‘with spots’ during the song looking sad/ wanting attention.


Me:  O Hello – didn’t spot you there!    

Sam:   Are you taking the mick, that’s what’s out of order.   

Me:     I’m sorry.  Didn’t realise you couldn’t take a joke.   

Sam:  I can.  And I’m well hard.  [pause and looking down]  But I’ve been getting grief at school all week. 

Me:   Getting grief about what?


Sam:   My spots of course. 

Me:  Oh!

Sam:  So I thought I come to church. 

Me:   O great, you’ve come to join in the service.

Sam:  No!    Didn’t come to join in.   

Me:  Right?

Sam:    I thought I’d come to church for a bit of sympathy. 

Me:  Because of your spots. 

Sam:  Exactly.    And then you start taking the mick as well.

Me:    Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t realise you’re being bullied. 

Sam:  [defensively and slightly aggressively] I’m not being bullied.  I can take care of myself. 

Me:   But people at school have been going on about your spots. 

Sam:  [looking away  - a bit sheepish]  whatever!     

So what have they been saying to you?

Sam:  This and that.

Me:  This name and that name? 

Sam:  Sam the spamhead! 

Me:   That’s a bit cruel. 

Sam:  Not as bad as Zit – features! 

O Sam.  That’s really bad.  So what are you doing about it?

Sam:  Everything. 

Me:   What like telling a teacher?

Sam:  Don’t be stupid.   


Me:   What’s stupid about that? 

Sam:  Not cool.

Me:   What do you mean, it’s not cool? 

Sam:   Whatever!

Me:  So what cool things have you tried. 

Sam:  Everything. 

Me:   like…. 


Sam:   Clearasil.  Freederm.   Clean & Clear.    

Me:  Right


Sam: And I’ve started using a new one this morning.

Me:  So is it working? 

Sam:  [defensively]  might be!

Me:  Well I know someone who can get rid of spots [click fingers]  just like that.

Sam:   Noooooo.

Me:  yes 


Sam:   [superficially incredulous, but underneath interested]    Soooo, who is it then?

Me:  Who’s who?


Sam:  Who’s your zit splatting mate then? 

Me:  well I don’t think you’d want to meet him. 

Sam:    What d’you mean? Of course, I want to check him out.  Unless you’re winding me up again.

Me:  No, I’m not winding you up.  I just don’t think he’s your type. 

Sam:  I don’t care if he’s a sandal wearing nerd.  If he can splat my zits, then I want to check him out. 

Me:  OK – promise you’re not going to run off like last time when I tell you His name. 

Sam:  Whatever!

Me:  Promise


Me:  Well in the Bible reading we had earlier we met a Leper. 

Sam:  A what!

Me:  A Leper.

Sam:  [laughing]  What’s that then, someone who looks like a leopard! 

Me:  Well sort of yes.  A leper was someone who’s covered is spots and sores.

Sam:  [more serious]:   What like me.

Me:    No, not really.  Teenage spots might look bad, but they won’t kill you.  But a leper’s someone who’s got a disease called leprosy. 

Sam:  So does that kill you then?

Me:   Can do yes.  And before death, it makes your hands and feet fall off. 

Sam:  We’re talking bad then. 


Me:  And in Bible times, there was no cure.  But what’s most scary, is that Leprosy’s really catching.  If somebody’s got it and they come near you, you can get it as well. 

Sam:  What like Chicken Pox?

Me:  Exactly.  So back in J’s day, if anyone had Leprosy, then they were thrown out of their house.  Even worse;  they were thrown out of their town.  And they had to go and live in a special place called a Leper Colony.     


Sam:  well bad.

Me:   It gets worse.  Because, if you had leprosy, you had to shout ‘unclean, unclean’ if you ever went out of the leper colony. 

Sam:  Why? 

Me:   So everyone else would know you had leprosy and steer clear of you. 

Sam:  seriously well bad. 

Me:  Imagine having no home;  no friends and no family.      How bad that would be? 

Sam:   A bit like me.

Me:  you’re not dieing.

Sam:   I know – stupid.    But no-one wants to be friends with me!

Me:  Wonder why? 

Sam:   Well I do actually.  I’ve only got a few spots.  It’s not as if I’ve turned into Shrek or something. And I haven’t got chicken pox or leprosy have I?   

Me:   But all your mates are taking the mick?

Sam:  Yeah!

Me:    That’s bad.

Sam:  Well bad.  ‘Cos underneath the spots, it’s still me:  Mr Cool!

Me:  so you’re feeling lonely at the moment!

Sam:    [dismissivelyMaybe.  But so what.  I can still play X-box 360 games in my bedroom.  Don’t need mates for that.

Me:    But you want to get rid of your spots. 

Sam:  Yeah.  [Leaning towards me stretching tall] So come on.  Who’s this zit-splatting mate of yours?

Me:  Jesus.

Sam:  [deflated body posture]  Jeeeesus! 


Me:  Now remember your promise not to run off. 

Sam:  Whatever! 


Me:    And if you’re feeling lonely because of a few spots.  Imagine how the leper felt. 

Sam:  Yeah.   But what’s that got to do with Jesus?

Me:  Well one day the leper came across Jesus.  And remember:  Lepers weren’t meant to touch or even go near other people.  So can you remember what the leper did when he met J? 

Sam:  How would I know?

Me:    He fell down on his knees in front of Jesus and begged. He'd heard a lot about Jesus. And he knew that Jesus had the power to do anything he wanted.  So he got down on his sore knees and begged.  What do you think he said? 

Sam:  Oi mate, can you zap my zits?


Me:  Wells sort of yes.  He said to J: “If you’re willing, you can make

me CLEAN!”   [repeat]     So how do you think Jesus reacted?

Sam:  On ya bike mate.  I don’t want to catch your filth. 

Me:  Well that’s how lots of people would have reacted, but not Jesus.  Jesus felt really sorry for him.  So Jesus reached out his hand and did what nobody ever did. He touched the leper.  And he said, “I AM WILLING - BE CLEAN!”   [repeat and pause] 
So what do you think happened next? 

Sam:  Tinkerbelle waved her magic wand and the fairy godmother appeared.

Me:  Now who’s taking the mick?  There’s a clue about what happened in this month’s banner hanging up over there [and coming up on the screen.]     [Banner 2 on PP]

Sam:  [Looks round at the screen:] So your mate Jesus zapped the leper’s zits. 

Me:  Exactly;  not a few days or weeks later, but straight away, the leper was cured. His leprosy had gone.  Just like in the banner:  one minute he had sores all over, then next minute they were gone.  In an instant.   The leper was CLEAN!   He could go home to his family again;  he could see his friends again.

Sam:  That’s an incredible story.

Me:  And that’s the point.  Jesus has got the power to heal people in an instant.  Because He’s the king.  Because he made us all in the first place.  It was a miracle.  And you can image what happened after that can’t you. 

Sam:    Yeah!    Everyone would be taking pictures on their mobiles and texting all their mates.  Check this out. 

Me:   Well sort, of, except they didn’t have mobiles in those days. 

Sam:  Nooo

Me:    Yes.  We didn’t even have mobiles when I was your age.

Sam:   You must be well old!


Me:  Thanks.

Sam:    How did you live, man.

Me:    We managed.     But getting back to the story, imagine if there was someone around today who could heal sick people with just a word.  The news would spread fast wouldn’t it?    Why?  Because even with all our technology, people still get sick and die.  So if you’re sick and there’s someone around who could heal you, you’d want to know wouldn’t you. 

Sam:  Yeah:  like I want to get rid of my zits.

Me:    Yes, but I was talking about people who are really sick.  And people like that would want to meet someone like Jesus wouldn’t they?  If they thought Jesus could heal them, then they’d be crying out for him just like this leper. 

Sam:  If it’s true, then yeah. 

Me:  And that’s exactly what happened in the story.  The news spread.  And everywhere Jesus went, crowds followed him.  Everyone wanted to see the King - the one who could just say the words “Be Clean”, and you’d be clean.

Sam:  So what happened then?

Me:  Well the crowds were so big that Jesus couldn't go into a town anymore without being crowded out. So He had to stay out in the countryside.  But the people were still looking for him.  And you can understand why can’t you?  Even if you weren't sick yourself, you'd still want to see it for yourselves.  A man who could heal sick people with just a word:    “I am willing”, said Jesus.  “Be clean”. 

Sam:  Amazing. 


Me:  Well as far as I know, no one here this morning has leprosy.  But in God’s eyes, every one of us is still unclean.  We haven't got leprosy, but every time we disobey God, every time we do something wrong, it makes us unclean in God’s sight.  And so in that sense, we’re all spiritual lepers.  And because God’s totally clean and holy, he can't stand  being near anything unclean. 


Me:  In J's day, clean people couldn’t be near unclean people.  Clean people couldn’t be near those with leprosy.    And it’s the same with God.  God can’t be near us if we’re unclean in His sight.  So each and every one of us needs to be made clean in God’s eyes.  We’re all unclean because of the bad things we do.  But that’s why God sent King Jesus.  King Jesus came to make people clean.  Not just physically clean.  Yes Jesus healed this man of his leprosy.  But that cleansing points to a much more important cleansing.  Because even more importantly, the reason Jesus came was to cleanse His people from their sins.  Jesus came to forgive people for all the bad things they’d done. 

Me:  J is willing to make us all clean.  But just like the leper, we need to ask Him.  “Please make me clean”, we need to say.  “Please forgive me for all the bad things I've done”. 

Me:  [Turning back to Sam] So what do you make of Jesus then?

Sam:  Is he gonna zap my zits?

Me:  Well he might do if you ask Him.   

Sam:  How d-you do that then?


Me:  you pray to him.  Close your eyes, talk to him and he’ll be listening.

Sam:  right. 


Me:    But he might decide not to zap your zits.  Because he’s more interested in washing away your sins.  So why don’t you pray about that first?

Sam:  Yeah right.  I’m off to have another go with my Oxy Facial wash.  See you later.  Ta tar. 

Me:    And that’s the choice facing each of us.  Jesus is no fairy tale.  He’s the king of the whole universe.  He’s the creator who made each and every one of us.  And Jesus is ready to wash all our sins away.  But just like the leper, we need to ask Him.  We need to say:  “Please make me clean”.  “Please forgive me for all the bad things I've done”.  Because it’s only when we’re clean;  it’s only when we’re forgiven, that we can follow Jesus and be in God’s presence. 

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