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Introduction Comparing the passage about the cleansing of the leper across the synoptic gospels presents some interesting differences. In this essay, an attempt will be made to explore these differences. The intention is to begin by identifying and describing the differences which I find to be most significant or interesting and then to offer my thoughts on these in the context of the evangelist presenting the passage. Consideration will also be given to whether or not there are any correlations to themes in other parts of the same gospel. Finally, the aim is to indicate a key message I derive from the passage in one of the three gospels for a homily. Pity It is interesting that Mark is the only evangelist to express that Jesus was “moved by pity” (Mark 1:41 [New Revised Standard Version]) when approached by the leper. Although Jesus’ response to the man is identical across all three gospels, why…show more content…
Further, it is believed that many among Mark’s audience may have been facing persecution as a result of their Christianity. Pity is defined as “sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy.” Mark’s audience may well have been experiencing at least one, if not all three of these emotions for which the use of empathic language could have been more effective. Moreover, such oppression would have called for a sympathetic response as seen in Jesus’ reaction to the leper. This is corroborated in other pleas for sympathy throughout Mark’s Gospel. For example, when the man brought his son with the unclean spirit, he implored Jesus by saying “have pity on us and help us” (9:22). This mutual pleading for and display of sympathy appears to be a significant feature throughout Mark’s Gospel. I conclude that for Mark, Jesus responding with pity may have played an important role in encouraging a group of people who were facing great trials at that
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