“A leper came and knelt before (Jesus), saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing.”
A while back, we talked about Jesus healing this man with leprosy – how Jesus was not afraid to “get His hands dirty” by touching (and healing) an “untouchable.”
But there is one more thought I would like to draw from this passage – and it is a thought that hits home for so many of us…
Most of us are quite confident that God is ABLE to do anything He wants to do. We seldom doubt God’s capability when it comes to the difficult situations of our lives.
Our struggle is with God’s willingness to meet us at our point of need. We KNOW that He can. We just really wonder if He will.
This was on the mind of the leper who met Jesus on that fateful day.
The issue that He needed settled was not the fact that Jesus had the power to heal him… it was whether or not Jesus was willing to heal him.
Surprisingly, Jesus was not disappointed or frustrated with the man’s question – or it’s doubt-laden premise. He is well-acquainted with our doubts. He knows our struggles. He knows that faith is so difficult for us who have been so rigorously trained by the disappointments of life.
Jesus does not turn the man away. He does not condemn his doubt. He affirms the fact that he has humbled himself and come to have Jesus meet his need – in spite of the serious social consequences it creates for himself (and for Jesus!).
The leper only knew one thing. Jesus was his only hope for an escape from his life of misery and shame. If only Jesus was willing to help him…
Suspended in that moment, we get a first-hand look into the Heart of the God of heaven. We see that He accepts us where we are (not where we should or could be) and He honors our trust in Him. Lawfully, Jesus could have sent the man away – covered in even more rejection and shame. But the Heart of God always seeks to go beyond the letter of the Law… to meet us where we need Him most.
So with one act of unparalleled kindness Jesus risks the condemnation of everybody – to meet the needs of just one.
It is so easy for all of us to lose sight of the fact that Jesus is always right there in front of us. He knows our needs. He knows our doubts and fears. He knows we struggle with whether or not He really loves us.
But, through the encounter with the leper, His message to us is a powerful reminder that He is unashamed to reach out to us and touch us at our points of greatest need…
He just wants us to know that He is not only able… He is so willing…