Articles

Articles

I Am Willing

I Am Willing

(Kent Heaton)

 

“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed’” (Mark 1:41). Leprosy would be an indescribable disease to live with to say nothing of the reality there is no cure. Yet a leper comes to Jesus and asked the impossible. Begging the Lord on his knees, the penitent man implores the blessing of relief from Jesus. Three words fell upon the ears of the man and then a most wonderful thing happened. Jesus touched him. Two miracles happened with the touch. How can one live without contact from another? The cruelty of leprosy is the abandonment of others. Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. In that touch the miracle happened. Jesus took away every horrible, miserable, painful and disgusting putrid feeling of the disease. Cleansed! Cured! Living with joy! Redemption! Relief!

Compassion moved Jesus to heal the man as He did on so many occasions. The Lord offered Himself on the cross but He had prepared His gift of servitude throughout His life. Jesus healed multitudes (Matthew 12:15; 15:30; 19:2; Luke 5:15; 9:11). He was tired, weary, exhausted and yet He came to serve and was willing to give of Himself in life and in death. “I am willing” is why He came to earth. “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

The mystery of godliness Paul spoke about in 1 Timothy 3:16 is the willingness of Jesus to heal man of his worst disease – sin. He was willing without our regard for Him. We were “without strength” and Jesus died for us (Romans 5:6). The hatred of men nailed the Son of God to a tree but He was willing to die for me. In the garden, “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus was willing only to do the will of His Father.

Jesus was willing to “touch us” in our filth. As leprosy alienated one from any contact or fellowship, sin estranged us from God and abandoned us to destruction. He is willing to reach forth His hand and touch us because He loves us with deep compassion. Before the cleansing power of His blood cleanses us the thought that Jesus is willing to touch us should destroy any pride or arrogance on our part. The Son of God will touch me. He will reach out and offer compassion to me. I who am untouchable was touched by the hand of Jesus. Thank you Lord.

Living with leprosy was a life filled with misery every minute of the day and every day of the year for a lifetime until death mercifully took the pain away. But now at the touch of the Master’s hand the pain was gone. The ugly deformed body was now whole again and pain free. When Jesus takes our sins away we are free from the sting of death and the victory of Hades. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). The painful nature of sin is removed as the Lord has taken our sins and removed them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

What does it feel like to be pain free? How does life smell now without the putridity of death’s stench filling our nostrils? We are whole again as a newborn baby (John 3) and the disease of sin will no longer have dominion over us (Romans 6:14). Thank God for His healing. Thank God for His compassion. Thank God for giving hope in His Son (Romans 5:1-5).

Jesus told the cleansed leper to “’say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’ However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction” (Mark 1:44-45). If you were cured of the worst case of cancer known to man would you not tell someone? Would it be possible to hold back the good news of your cleansing and how wonderful you felt to be cleansed of such a dreaded disease? Sin is so much worse than the most deadly disease known to man. Being cleansed of our sins how can we not be like the leper of Mark 1 to proclaim freely and spread the good news of cleansing to everyone we know? There were those who did not believe the man but there were those who did. Their lives were changed by the life of a cleansed leper. As children of God we are all cleansed sinners who need to tell the story. Jesus was willing. Am I?