“It pleases me for you to become cleansed.” (Mark 1:41)

In this act of compassion, Jesus said this to a man with leprosy as he cured him. Here is the situation:
Later a leper came to him, calling out and kneeling before him, saying, “If it pleases you, you can cleanse me.” Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, saying to him, “It pleases me for you to become cleansed.” (Mark 1:40-41)

Why did the man ask to be cleansed?

The question this brings is why the man asked to be "cleansed" rather than healed of the disease. Was he dirty? Did he just need a shower?

The word "cleansed" in this statement is being translated from the Greek word καθαρίζω (katharizō) - which can mean "to make clean, cleanse;" but also: "to be free from defilement of sin and from faults," and "to purify from wickedness," and "to free from guilt of sin, to purify."

This means that while the words "clean" and "cleanse" might still be appropriate translations, their application relates not to a physical disease but refers to cleansing or purifying of one's sinfulness, and the consequences of past sins.

But why would this - cleansing the man with respect to his sins - have anything to do with healing the man's leprosy?

Herein lies an element of Jesus' teachings not well understood.

Is this about consequences?

Every action performed within the physical world has consequences - good or bad. Actions that help others create good consequences. And activities that hurt others have bad consequences.

More specifically, this system allows each person to experience upon their bodies the results of their activities that affect others' bodies. We receive the opportunity to experience - with our respective physical body at some time in the future - whatever we do to others.

This has been communicated in the scriptures:
As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. (Job 4:8)
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love... (Hosea 10:12)
Jesus also spoke about reaping what one sows, within his parable of the master and servant. And his disciples also taught this tenet:
And the seed of the fruit of devotion is sown with tranquility by those who create tranquility. (James 3:18)
And Job also related suffering the consequences of one's prior sinfulness:
For you write down bitter things against me and make me reap the sins of my youth. (Job 13:26)
Jesus also illustrated this as he healed others through the forgiveness of sin:
Suddenly they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a cot. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the sick man, “Son, rejoice because your sins are forgiven of you.” (Matt. 9:2)
In other words, this world is a place of consequences. And this - as child psychologists have proven - is the best way to learn. Child psychologists call this "consequence learning" - when the child is given consequences that directly relate to their behavior rather than disciplined out of context.

And this is what the Supreme Being has set up within the physical world. Whatever situation we are in right now - whatever our economic situation, our physical situation and our family and so on - is the result of our past activities.

And consequences also carry over between lifetimes as well. This was communicated clearly by this question asked by Jesus' disciples:
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that his body was born blind?” (John 9:2)
The very fact that this man - who was born blind - could have been born blind as a result of his own past sins indicates that Jesus and Jesus' disciples accepted that a person could carry their sins from one lifetime to another.

And this also serves to answer the critical question many ask:

Why are children born into suffering?

Why are these innocent children born into starvation or war? Is it God's fault? 

And this is certainly a logical question. And yes, it makes no sense to say that God is good if He makes some people randomly suffer while others are better off.

But this is not what the scriptures teach, nor what Jesus taught, nor what the man with leprosy accepted about his own disease:

Rather, they teach that our current situation is the result of our past activities.

This means that God did not make children be born into suffering. Their own behavior in a previous lifetime caused their suffering in this lifetime. It is simple cause and effect.

And this is why this world is so messed up right now: It is a result of our past activities - collectively and as individuals.

It is like throwing a ball up in the air. If we throw a ball up, it will come back down at us. If we throw it up real hard so it goes up higher, it will fall back down at us with more velocity.

But it also should be understood that the law of consequences is a feature of the physical world and these physical bodies.

We are not these physical bodies anyway. Our bodies are constantly changing. Every five years the body recycles every molecule making it up. This effectively means at least every five years we have changed bodies.

We are driving these physical bodies just as a person drives a car, and just as the car is suited for driving on roads and highways, our physical body is perfectly suited for living within the physical world.

We might compare the physical world to a video game. When a boy sits down at a video game, he will first choose an icon - a virtual avatar with which to play the game. Then the icon is sent into different situations, and the boy playing the game operates the game controls and directs the icon here and there. If the video game is a war game, the icon will be shooting other icons and other icons will be shooting the boy's icon.

Meanwhile, there is a scoring system built into the game. When the boy's icon does good, the scores go higher. When the boy's icon makes mistakes, the scores go down. Why is scoring so important? Because this is how the boy learns how to play the game better - by keeping score.

And sometimes the boy's icon gets shot and even killed in the game.

But is the boy shot when his icon gets shot? Nope. The boy can just get up from the game and walk away. Or the boy might just start up a new game and pick a new icon.

The physical world is similar because we each get to operate a physical body for a short period and then it dies. When it dies, we - the spirit-person within the body - moves on.

Do we get another body after this one?

Depending upon our consciousness and past activities, we will then either take on a new body or - if we have re-developed our relationship with the Supreme Being - we can go home to the spiritual realm.

This system was in fact taught by Jesus and his disciples. This was confirmed by early Christian teachers such as Origen Adamantius and others - whose teachings - passed on orally by Jesus' disciples - were later banned.

The point of this system is we have choices, and we can choose to learn if we want. If we want ignorance we can have that. But we can become rehabilitated if we want to as well.

The Supreme Being is allowing us to experience consequences within this virtual plane of existence in order to learn - in order to realize our true nature.

We can see this in the fact that the consequence system encourages us to be kind to others. If we are kind to others, they will be kind to us and so forth.

What is our true nature?

The Supreme Being created each of us to exchange a loving relationship with Him. Why? Because the Supreme Being enjoys loving relationships. He enjoys the exchange of love. So in fact, we are each the loving servants and friends of the Supreme Being.

But because love requires freedom, each of us has the freedom to love Him or not. And those who choose not to love Him are able to get away from Him virtually by taking on a physical body in the physical world - and experience the opportunity to try to enjoy life without Him.

But there is no joy in this world without our loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This is what the law of consequences is set up to ultimately show us.

Our true nature is to love and be loved.

Is the physical world a rehabilitation center?

And for those who have advanced to a point where they want to return home to the spiritual realm, the Supreme Being sends His representative to teach us how we can redevelop our loving relationship with Him.

As such, God's representative - being empowered by the Supreme Being - is able to purify a person of their past sinful consequences. Why? So that they will become unburdened of their previous activities. And their consciousness will become purified.

This is what is happening with the man with leprosy. The man's leprosy occurred due to the consequences of his previous activities. This is why his focus was becoming cleansed rather than healed.

And Jesus - feeling compassion - was focused upon the man's purification. He knew that once the consequences of sin were lifted from the man - the man's body would be healed too.

But healing one's body or even purifying one's sinful consequences does not in itself allow a person to return home to the spiritual realm.

We can see this clearly among those who continue their sinful activities even after (theoretically at least) being cleansed of their sins.

Does our consciousness need to be cleansed?

This means having a change of heart. It means redirecting our goals and aspirations towards returning to our relationship with the Supreme Being. And as this matures, it means working to please the Supreme Being.

The exchange of our innate loving service relationship with the Supreme Being is the perfection of our existence. As such, those activities performed on behalf of the Supreme Being - in His service - do not have consequences. They are pure activities that embrace our loving relationship with Him.

In such a consciousness, should we use this life to achieve the goal of life, at the end of our lifetime we can return to our home in the spiritual realm where we can resume our spiritual identity and leave behind this physical world of consequences.

And what is the goal of life?
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)