Willing

To be willing to do good is one thing. To be able to do good is quite another.
Jesus, of course, was both. He did not withhold His blessings until some price was paid—He was the price to be paid. He did not make those seeking His touch jump through hoops to earn His attention—He walked among them freely, available to all who would reach out to Him in faith. Believing was the catalyst. Those who approached Him in cynicism went away unchanged. Others, threatened by His authority, who came to Him to discredit Him, went away with all their clever constructs crumbling before His simple message and powerful presence.

A Leper in the Crowd
While the willingness of Jesus to heal and deliver was obvious to most, His availability to social outcasts had yet to be seen. The poor man is described as “full of leprosy.” This was no minor case. According to the customs and cautions of the time, lepers had to announce their approach in the streets by yelling, “Unclean! Unclean,” providing ample warning and opportunity for people to find safety until the damaged and dangerous one passed.

The crowd pressing Jesus gave way at the sound of this leper’s cry. He came and fell on his ruined face at the feet of Jesus. His question was the same question on everyone’s mind. Did the mercy and authority of Jesus extend all the way to people like him?

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

This was not a challenge to Jesus. It was not the cry of a cynic or an enemy. It was the sincere statement of one who had nowhere else to turn.

The Healing Touch
As he often did, Jesus let the man’s words hang in the air. The crowd pulsed with silent anticipation. What would Jesus do? What would He say? Jesus raised His hand to the sky and left it there, heightening the wondering expectation of the people. Would He strike such an unworthy one?

No. He touched the man! Unprecedented. Unheard of. Unwise by all contemporary thinking.

“I am willing; be cleansed.”

Immediately the disease departed. The stunned crowd watched as fresh new flesh grew where unsightly horrors had been just seconds before. The man, still wearing the rotting rags of an outcast, obeyed the Lord and headed for the Temple to fulfill the law’s requirements for one healed of leprosy. Silently the crowd watched him until he was out of sight, swallowed by the streets and alleyways of the town.

The Lord Jesus is willing!
There are no “ifs” to be considered. If we come to Jesus in faith believing, He will meet us. If we call on Him in faith, He hears us! His Word gives us the details of His willingness, its qualities and conditions, in Covenantal form. When we ask according to His benevolent will, He hears us and is willing and able to supply our needs.

To be willing to do good is one thing. To be able to do good is quite another.

Scriptures:
Luke: 5:12-16

And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.” However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank for Your touch! Thank You for Your willingness to touch me, time and time again when I called on You in faith. I am sure there are other times when You touched me and I didn’t call on You! Your mercy extended, just as promised in the Word, to me and to my generation! I need another touch today. I know You are willing and I know You are able. The Word makes it clear: “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!” Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Song:
He Touched Me

Words and Music: Bill and Gloria Gaither

1. Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame.
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.

Refrain:
He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.

2. Since I met this blessed Savior,
Since He cleansed and made me whole,
I will never cease to praise Him,
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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