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Gospel of Mark 1: 40-45 (NIV)
40 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
The request of the man with leprosy reads to me like a prayer. His words carry a recognition of who Jesus is and an acknowledgement of the limitless nature of his power. They are expressed with humility; here is no demand for attention and healing but rather a humble request for Jesus’ willingness to extend his compassion even to this poor leper.
Our trust is to be like that of the leper. We know Jesus as God incarnate and we know that our resurrected Lord now reigns in glory over the entire universe and that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. He can make us clean.
In the sense of liberating us from the imprisoning effects of our sinfulness, he has made us clean. The forgiveness of sin is for all who put their trust in him.
There remains, of course, overwhelming evidence of this world’s need for healing. Is Jesus willing to heal now every single ailment, impediment and disadvantage? Unless and until we know the purpose of each of these in God’s overall plan to restore his creation to himself, we will not fully understand why some physical or psychological illnesses or the sufferings resulting from emotional damage remain unhealed.
We are challenged, however, to continue to pray for God’s willing-ness to restore elements of his creation now rather than to wait until that time when the Son of God returns as judge of all the earth.