This is our sixth visit with Ben Nelson at the blog Another Red Letter Day. He has been faithfully writing since June 2012, and if you click the title below, you can then browse other posts.
Join me in Mark 1 today and let’s think about what Jesus said in these three little words. But first … a little context.
And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” – Mark 1:40-41 NASB
Jesus ran into people every day during His ministry years. It is in fact why He came, to seek and to save the lost, to run into people and bring the kingdom of heaven into their lives. No two of the folks He encountered were alike. It was not as though everyone who came to Him for a miracle came with the same level of faith and expectation.
Some knew deep inside that if they could reach Him, they would find healing, like the woman with the issue of blood.
for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” – Matthew 9:21 NASB
Some were not even sure He had any power whatsoever.
“It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” – Mark 9:22 NASB
Some understood He was not limited to proximity, and could heal across the miles like the centurion.
But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. – Matthew 8:8 NASB
So what about this leper we meet in Mark 1? He had a concern I often hear voiced in Evangelical circles. It’s common thought today that Jesus can still heal and does still heal, but it is linked to some sort of whim or fancy or divine fiat. We come to the Lord in prayer asking for healing as though we hoping He’s in a good mood and might just condescend to do us a little favor and heal our loved one.
This phrase only comes up five times in the NASB and three of them are three accounts of this event. One is when Jesus is talking about John the baptist, explaining that he was Elijah who would come. The only other time we hear this phrase is in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus cries out to the Father:
saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” – Luke 22:42 NASB
Many have adopted this phrase as part of their prayer life.
Here’s the thing.
Jesus answered the question.
He answered this man in no uncertain terms.
He could have simply healed the leper to demonstrate His will without saying a word.
But Jesus—the Word of God—the very Will of God incarnate—the express image of God—Jesus—answered.
I am willing!
And if this doesn’t answer it for you with enough clarity, look at His ministry. He healed all who came to Him. Time after time we see Him heal them all.
The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. – Matthew 4:24 NASB
But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, – Matthew 12:15 NASB
We are not calling out to God for something unclear, or something unprecedented.
Jesus, in the Garden, placed Himself into a circumstance we could never see. He was facing separation from the Father, He was facing the cup of God’s wrath stored up against all our sin and the prospected was horrifying.
This is not our case when the come to the Lord Jesus for our healing. He told us His name is Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer.
I understand that when we are talking about our future James tells us to leave it in the Lord’s hands.
Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” – James 4:15 NASB
But James is not teaching us to pray. He’s talking about our attitude toward life.
Jesus Christ who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, said without hesitation:
“I am willing; be cleansed.” – Matthew 8:3 NASB
Hallelujah! (That’s a place for shouting!)