Episode 165: Jesus is Willing
“Then a man with leprosy came to Him and, on his knees, begged him: “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” Jesus told him. “Be made clean.” (Mark 1:40,41)
I have written about this passage before focusing on the leprosy that was consuming this man. Leprosy is a suitable analogy for sin in our lives. Like leprosy, sin slowly consumes us and deadens our senses. We often don’t realize the effect of the disease until we lose the part of our life that has been infected.
However, today I want to focus on the words of Jesus in verse 40. When the man comes to Jesus, he doesn’t question if Jesus is able to heal his leprosy. He says, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” You can hear in the leper’s statement, the doubt of his own worth. His leprosy had made him an outcast, avoided by everyone around him. He was most likely depressed and lonely. His disease kept him from being able to contribute in any way possible to his family or society. He couldn’t go to church. He couldn’t go to work. He could not have any part of any community other than more lepers like him. This man could only be surrounded by those who were just as full of despair as him. Put yourself in the leper’s place and try to imagine the lack of significance he must have felt.
In this state, the leper comes to Jesus in the hopes that He may be willing to set him free from this existence. He knows Jesus can heal him. He has seen Jesus healing others and driving out demons. There is no doubt in his mind that Jesus is the answer to his struggles. What the leper questions is why Jesus would heal him in the first place. Would Jesus be willing to touch the untouchable? Would he be willing to restore the life of the unloved? Would Jesus be willing to invite this man into communion with Him? With His popularity on the rise and His ministry taking off, would Jesus be willing to risk his reputation by receiving that which all had rejected? Would Jesus be willing to cleanse that which was declared unclean?
Jesus answered all of the man’s questions with one simple statement, “I am willing”. Sweeter words had never been heard in the leper’s life. Immediately he was restored and made whole. Many of us have these same questions that plagued the leper. Realizing that our sin has infected us like a deadly disease, we fall into the depths of depression. We feel unloved and outcast. There is no community where we are accepted other than along side those who are just as lost in their sin. We don’t feel welcomed in church and we feel unseen by those around us. We wonder if Jesus sees us at all. Would He be willing to restore us and remove the penalty of our disease?
Jesus answered all of the questions with an emphatic, “I am willing” as He allowed the Roman soldiers to beat him, and nail Him to the cross. Hanging on the Cross, his body beaten, bruised, and bleeding, Jesus proved He is willing. He stretched His hand out for the leper. His arms were stretched out for us and proclaimed, “It is finished”. With that, Jesus proved His love for us and welcomed us in to communion with Him for eternity.
Let us be a people who live in the truth of the willingness of Jesus. Like the leper, let us come to Jesus in our state of brokenness and despair. He is more than able to heal us and has already proven that He is willing to do so.
Love Y’all! Be Blessed!