Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Surrendering to the Cross

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Surrendering to the Cross

Article excerpt

2 Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Mark 1:40-4.5

True discipleship requires the ability to surrender, and this week's readings feature examples of just how (and how not) to do it. First, though it's hard to imagine that a leper could issue instructions on how his healing should take place, Naaman does exactly this in 2 Kings. Annoyed that Elisha's instructions are not sufficiently grand for a man of his stature, Naaman must be convinced by his own servants to "Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean." After reluctantly following Elisha's instructions, he emerges from the murky waters with skin "... like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean." Only then is Naaman convinced, and only then does he confess that "there is no God in all the earth except in Israel."

Naaman was healed despite himself, in stark contrast to the leper who approaches Jesus in Mark's gospel. The leper demonstrates not only humility, but great faith when he confesses, "If you choose, you can make me clean. …

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