Seminary graduates know the “hardest” translation of a Bible passage is usually the most accurate. The rarest manuscript is also usually most accurate. It is called “textual criticism.” So translators, in their desire to protect the persona of Jesus, softened the response in Jesus to this innocent request of a leper. They translated the inner response in Jesus from indignation to “compassion.”* It is not hard to see the logic of this as compassion was clearly evoked and recorded when Jesus saw the multitudes fainting after Him as sheep scattered without a shepherd, when He reached out toward the eyes and touched the blind men, and then speaking to the widow losing her only son: “Don’t weep.” Wouldn’t the same compassion be in Jesus for the leper?
I guess the translators felt we cannot deal with an indignant Jesus and took those liberties. Translators, though, did not shy away with aligning grief and indignation in Jesus when the Disciples forbade the children coming to Him. They also were accurate to the original text for the angry look Jesus gave surrounding Pharisees, grieved by their hardness of heart when they tested if He would heal a withered hand on the Sabbath. Surely, a humble, lowly leper doesn’t fit in this list and wouldn’t get this response!?
Such unsettling took me deeper. Do I want the real Jesus or the one that makes sense to me? Do I understand Jesus? Is it important to? When it comes to His willingness, what churns in Him when we say “if”? What happens when we are unsure of His willingness? Do we put it together with the reality that He left everything, laid down everything, was going to be totally exposed with torn flesh, forsaken, hung up on a cross, all for the same willingness of redeeming a person?
Jesus replied “I am willing.” He was saying, “I have a mind to, I will to, I intend to, I am resolved or determined, I purpose, I like to do this thing, I take delight to…”
Can we allow ourselves to sink so much into the “willingness” of Jesus and the cost it was for Him that we begin to understand the offense that uncertainty of His willingness brings…even when we approach Him today with all sorts of needs? If it’s the only sense we can make of the Great Condescension from glorious Godhead to the worst death on the Cross, we will see why this anger worked in Him.
Can we handle a Jesus that gets indignant? Perhaps touching it is the fire need to understand real Love.
*see footnote #74 https://net.bible.org/#!bible/Mark+1