“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.’ Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared” (Luke 5:12-13, NLT).
Jesus healed many people, but some of those cases stood out to the disciples like this one. An “advance case of leprosy” usually results in grotesque injury and disfigurement. A leper suffers from loss of feeling. Nerve endings that lie just below the surface of the skin all over the body gradually become dead. A leper cannot feel a pebble in his shoe or sense that he has grasped a hot object that is burning her hand. The pain that triggers an instant jerk from us is absent in leprosy.
A leper’s life was marked by other pain. In Jesus’ day, lepers were required to maintain a personal quarantine, keeping their distance from others and loudly announcing that they were “Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!” according the Old Testament, to anyone who might come near. This man had advanced leprosy, meaning people will never get near him, ever. It’s quite possible this man had gone years without personal contact with another human being. His humble request to Jesus might sound tentative to us, but it combines a balance of respect (“if you are willing”) with a profound recognition of Jesus’ abilities.
Jesus responded without a word. He moved toward the man and touched him. Jesus touched the leper! Jesus could just heal the man without touching him but he have more in mind. He want to restore not just the man’ body but also his dignity and personhood. He treated him as clean before he actually healed him. His words “I am willing” must have simply confirmed for this man what was already happening in his mind and body. Wholeness is much more than physical health. In fact, wholeness is more important than the condition of our bodies. Even under the best circumstances, our bodies age and wear out; only God can provide wholeness of heart, mind, and soul. Fortunately, God is willing. Jesus is willing.
Think about this: We are not yet whole. Sometimes we require adjustments; at other times only radical transformation will bring about God’s purposes in us. Every glimpse of our incompleteness can be an invitation to join the leper at Jesus’ feet to humbly ask for healing and cleansing. You might not be physically leper but we all need to be whole. Friend, bring your personal brokenness to Jesus, the Healer – today – with confidence that he is willing to make you whole. Jesus still says, “I am willing.” Come to Him.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.