Lord, if you are willing.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
When explaining the word faith to small children, I often think of a poster I had on my bedroom wall when I was growing up that said ‘Faith is what you cling to when you have nothing else left.’ There was a picture of a kitten clinging desperately to a tree limb to accompany these words. I used to wonder to myself, in my privileged teenage bedroom, just what it would be like to have nothing else to cling to except faith. Years later, I look back at the times in my life when I felt that all I had left to cling to was faith: when my best friend was critically injured from a fall from a horse, or when my two year old son was ill.
The man with leprosy was shunned by the rest of the world because he was considered unclean. He was never going to be able to overcome this isolation unless he was healed: he had nothing else to cling to except his faith. When he heard about the works that Jesus had performed, he clung to the hope that there was a way out of his dire situation. Contrast this to Simon’s first reaction when Jesus asked him to recast the net. An experienced fisherman, Simon doubted there would be any fish. He understood later that, in Jesus, anything is possible. He learned to become more faithful.
Jesus knows and understands the struggle we have at times to have faith in Him. Our worldly perspective gets in the way of seeing God’s truth. In both scenarios, the men deferred to the will of Jesus; “If you are willing, you can make me clean” and “Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Faith has to begin with obedience to the will of God.
Head: think about the times in your life when all you had to cling to was your faith in Jesus.
Heart: how wonderful it is that Jesus is patient with us when we are learning to have faith in Him.
Hands: what can you do to help others learn about faith in Jesus?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being patient with me when I thought I didn’t need you to guide me. Thank you for comforting me when I had nothing left to cling to except my faith in you. Please help me to choose your precious way in whatever circumstance I find myself. Amen.
A song to listen to: Mercy Mercy