Willing and Able

Huge crowds followed Jesus to hear His teaching. Of those multitudes, Matthew records only one individual who came and spoke with Jesus. What set him apart from the others? He was a leper, afflicted with some loathsome skin disease. According to the Law of Moses, he was “unclean.” That is, he could not enter the Temple to worship God, and he had to keep away from other people. In that sense, he was “set apart” from others. But he had another quality that made him even more distinctive: His faith. Notice for things: - He came out of the crowd to Jesus. He eagerly and actively sought Jesus. - He worshiped Jesus. Others might marvel at the teaching of Christ (7:28-29), but this man saw beyond the words to the Word of God made man. He somehow knew that Jesus was more than a man; He was the Lord. Moses’ law forbade the worship of anyone but Yahweh, the one true and living God. This leper discerned that Jesus was, in some sense, equal with God. - He believed in Jesus’ power. “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” In his eyes, Jesus had the power to take away his awful disease. And since, ritual uncleanness kept him from approaching God in worship, this “cleansing” would also bring restoration of fellowship with the Father and thus with other people as well. - He believed in Jesus’ love. Otherwise, why would he have summoned up the courage to step out of the crowd, who would have shunned and despised him, and approach Jesus? He must have seen that Jesus, who had just spoken of the Father’s willingness to give good gifts to His children (7:11), would do the same to all who asked. - He submitted to Jesus’ authority. “If You are willing…” He did not presume to know the will of God. He did not demand healing. He merely expressed his utter trust in the greatness and goodness of Jesus. His faith found an immediate reward. Unlike others, Jesus touched the man. With that contact came healing words, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Instantly, the man’s skin took on the soft freshness of that of a little baby. A mighty miracle had come in response to simple faith, so that he now could approach God and live among men. What about us? Do we believe that Jesus is the divine Son of God, our only Savior? Do we trust that He will answer our prayers for fellowship with God through cleansing from sin? Do we have confidence that He can remove obstacles between us and others also? If so, let us come to Jesus with the same words, “Lord, if You are willing, you are able.”