He IS Willing
There have been a lot of famous speeches made throughout history. I think of Martin Luther King, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Lou Gehrig… just to name a few. But the most famous speech of all time was made by Jesus Christ and is referred to as the “Sermon on the Mount.” This speech gave direction and put quite frankly what a life following Jesus Christ, a life acceptable by God would look like. (Matthew Chapter 5-7)
I think it is very telling and extremely interesting what happened just after he concluded his speech. In the book of Matthew chapter 8, just after Jesus finished the sermon, “…a man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘I am willing, Be clean!’ Immediately, he was cleansed of his leprosy.”
Although leprosy still exists in certain parts of the world, most of us will never experience or even really know what this condition is truly like. It’s important to understand it, to fully grasp the significance when it’s discussed in the Bible. There was no cure at that time. People with this illness were considered unclean outcasts of society and forced to live in their own separated communities. If they came anywhere near people without this illness, they had to cover their upper lip and cry “Unclean, Unclean.” So, in addition to the pain and physical destruction of the ailment, they had to go through embarrassment and humiliation to top it off.
Short explanation is this: Leprosy is a skin disease that causes painful and debilitating sores, nerve damage, crippling, deformities, infection, blindness and can even cause the nose to collapse. And being that the skin is basically rotting away, the smell that came with it was truly putrid. Ok, ok, I won’t go into any more detail but are you getting the picture? It would surely be an awful way to go through life.
I think about that man Jesus healed just after his sermon and think to myself what a strong statement was made by Jesus in that kind, very public act. Think about it. We all come to Jesus unclean. We may not have leprosy - but he sees the literal and figurative pain, damage, blindness, deformities and even crippling situations we are going through in our lives. But He loves us anyway.
· Simple truth: All we need to do is approach him in faith and declare, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
· Jesus told us already in the Bible what his reply will be: “I am willing, Be clean!”
No embarrassment or humiliation. Just a willing and faithful heart. And then, it doesn’t say that it will happen later in life or in a few months, or when we finally start getting things right more often… no… it says IMMEDIATELY we will be clean.
Please see this act of love by Jesus for exactly what it is. We are dirty and to a certain extent we cannot even help that. We were born imperfect and live in a sin filled world. But with our faith, expectation and our direct request we can be immediately clean! God is SO good!!
(Matthew 8:2-3, Mark 1:40-41, Luke 17:12-15)
(Scriptures about healing: Jeremiah 17:14, Jeremiah 30:17, Isaiah 38:16-17, James 5:14-15, Philippians 4:19)