Screwtape’s nephew then responds. But, Screwtape sir, what about Mark’s next incident when a man with severe skin disease seeks out Jesus?
Mark wrote. On his knees he begged Jesus. He said, “If you are willing to make me ‘clean,’ you can do it.” Jesus was filled with deep concern. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing to do it,” he said. “Be ‘clean’!” Right away the disease left him. He was healed. Jesus sent him away at once. He gave the man a strong warning. “Don’t tell this to anyone,” he said. “Go and show yourself to the priest. Offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded. It will be a witness to the priest and the people that you are ‘clean.’”
Screwtape immediately replied. At all costs, dear nephew, don’t let people even start thinking about this clean business. Suggest to them that this was just another illness that Jesus appeared to cure. Don’t remind people that the priest was under a legal duty to make sure this leper was clean inside as well as outside. You’ll risk losing them from our kingdom if they notice that. Tell them that they’re as clean as the next man.
Most important of all, my dear nephew, don’t ever allow them to connect Jesus’ teaching with his keenness to make this man clean. It would be disaster for us if they turned to him to find out from him how he is able to cleanse them.
You’ve already failed to stop some of them reading Mark’s biography of Jesus. Your successes have been great by-and-large in that objective. Now you can see how important is success in diverting people from reading these books.
You also must take care, dear nephew, to channel people’s thoughts into the practical realities of their lives. Remind them that this is the twenty-first century. Keep on stressing that no one’s guilty of anything anymore. Help them to think that what they do no longer matters let alone what stupidly say is right or wrong.