Bible Reading: Mark 1:40-45
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees,
"If you are willing, you can make me clean."
Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man.
"I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning:
"See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."
Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news.
As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.
Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
In these days of ‘Hands, Face, Space’, the Jewish laws of ritual washing and of not touching the diseased, the dead or any bodily fluids, make a lot of sense. Then, as now, it was believed that sickness was transferred by physical contact.
But, when Holy God took on human flesh and came to live among sick and sinful people, he stood these laws on their head, and when Jesus touched an ‘unclean’ diseased leper he demonstrated that, in the Kingdom of God, it is healing, not sickness, that flows from contact with Jesus.
A leper came to Jesus in humility, and begged him saying, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." To which Jesus replied, “I am willing, be clean”. Jesus was willing and able.
If you were sick and went to see your doctor, who could prescribe a cure or a treatment, can you imagine a time when he or she would not write you out a prescription? Why then do we doubt God’s grace, his willingness and ability to meet the needs that we have when we come to him?
In God’s economy, there may be issues of timing and reasons beyond our understanding, but let us never doubt the compassion of Jesus, his willingness to say ‘Yes’, and his ability to reach out to us and to meet our needs.
What do you need from God today? Can you bring that need to Jesus in humility, and say to him ‘If you are willing…’ And can you hear him say to you ‘I am willing’?
Could you also put yourself in the position of Jesus? Could you ask him to help you say ‘I am willing’ to someone around you today, someone whose need you could meet?
Lord Jesus, I come to you with the things that are on my heart today.
Give me the faith to believe in your willingness and ability to meet my needs and the grace to help meet the needs of others.