1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:1-3
Matthew 8 marks the start of the narration of a series of miracles. 3 healings are recorded in succession here – this man with leprosy, a Centurion’s servant who was paralysed and then Peter’s mother-in-law who had a fever. Jesus is the best healer there ever was and ever will be. He could just speak the word and rid people of disease but you see an amazing tenderness and compassion coming with him as well. For example, he touches this man with leprosy. He didn’t have to touch him.
He also declares his willingness to heal the man. His self-esteem was obviously down. He had probably been rejected by society and chances are he didn’t have many people, if anyone, who was willing to be with him, let alone do anything for him and certainly to go as far as touching him. That’s why he starts his sentence with “if you are willing…” Jesus discerns exactly what he needs and speaks affirming words to him and does an equally affirming gesture (touch) and ultimately heals the disease.
Suddenly, a guy is restored on the inside just as much as on the outside and this terrible disease is removed from him body and there is a new lease of life given. Is this the same Jesus who we profess today? Is he still as powerful and willing to heal and restore? And is he wanting to do all of this through us? If the answers are yes, and they indeed are, then perhaps we need to believe him and take him at his word and we need to step out in prayer and interaction with those who are unwell. In trusting him for healing, we can take authority over sickness and see it healed in Jesus’s Name. Jesus is amazing!