Today marks the 5th message in our series on the miracles of Jesus. So far we've looked at how Jesus healed the paralytic, a man born blind, delivered a demon-possessed man, paid the temple tax with a coin found in a fish and raised up three people who had died! We've been making the point that all of these miracles are meant to show that Jesus is the Son of God and what the kingdom of God is all about (John 10:24-38). The miracle we will be looking at this time is Jesus healing a man with leprosy as told in Mark 1:40-45. (This miracle is also mentioned in Matthew 8 and Luke 5). A man with leprosy falls down at Jesus's feet and begs him saying "If you are willing, you can make me clean." What is interesting in the gospel of Mark is Jesus' reaction. The NIV reads, "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."
Why was Jesus indignant? I believe that Jesus was indignant with the leper's perception of Jesus. I can just imagine Jesus thinking "What do you mean, IF I am willing?"
When we read the Bible, we learn who God is, what God is like and what God asks of us. Sometimes the Old Testament stories make it seem like God is angry and judgmental. God can come across like that because He is holy and we are not, but often we forget that God is angry because He cares, because He loves us. And God never failed in His promise to His people in all of their unfaithfulness.
God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to save us (John 3:16) and Romans 8:31 reminds us that God is for us and did not even spare His Son for us. God wills our good but in His time and in His way.
So Jesus reaches out and touches the leper and the man is healed and cleansed! Usually when a person touches a leper, they become unclean, but when Jesus touches the leper, the leper is made clean!
The leper approached Jesus with a desperate hope, a humble boldness - "if you are willing, you can help me." How do you approach Jesus? What do you think He is like? Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach God's throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This week will you approach Christ with the same desperate hope and humble boldness in your time of need? More, importantly, are you willing to come before Jesus with your greatest need? It is not better grades, more money, a significant other, or even purpose in life. Your greatest need is to be right with God. And Jesus is willing! In fact that is why He came - to bring you forgiveness and relationship with God through His death and resurrection.
May you receive all that God has for you this week in Christ!