Mark 1:40-41 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.
The sultry air carried the laughter of children playing in the distance. The sounds of busy town life punctuated by an occasional dog’s barking buzzed all around, heralding the return of spring. Everyone basked in its sweet entrance – everyone except one man.
The lonely figure sat staring. His body was motionless, but his mind was struggling in a sea of mixed emotions. The cheerful sunshine reached down to touch his oozing skin covered with leprous sores, but the action only seemed to emphasize his loss of human touch.
How long had it been since he had held the hand of a loved one or felt the warm embrace of a dear friend? When the disease had been discovered, all had shunned him. Even those closest shrunk from his presence and left him to fend for himself.
But just recently some strangers had come to town. He had heard news that one of these men had healed a dying woman. The crowds that flocked to see him had passed by his hiding place and he overheard the excited talk as they brought other sufferers to receive this divine healing.
The man glanced down at his hands that were starting to show signs of deterioration brought on by his own horrible malady. “I wonder . . .” he thought.
The inward struggle again began as he considered what chances he had to meet this stranger and receive the gift of healing he had to give. In his heart he truly believed the man could do the impossible, but his mind whispered that rejection would again be his personal fate. Why would the man want to come near an infectious nothing such as he? Was it worth trying?
Summoning the last bit of courage, he painfully stood to his feet. He would go to this man and beg for his mercy.
As he stumbled towards the town, the humiliating cry that always accompanied his entrance rang out – “Leper, Unclean!” As usual the crowd averted their eyes and scurried away fearing they would contract his horrible condition. This left him a clear path to the man who had such great power.
Upon reaching Jesus the broken man fell onto his knees and choked out the words that filled his heart. “Sir, if you are willing you can make me clean!”
His eyes, blinded by dust and tears, missed the look of compassion that covered the gentle stranger’s face. But he shivered as he felt the tender touch so unfamiliar to him, and his ears clearly heard the soft words, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
Something suddenly changed. He could feel it before he could see it. A new strength filled his body. The pain left him. The sores were gone! His heart overflowed with gratefulness. He listened as the man sternly told him to go show the priests that he was cleansed, but to tell no one else.
He started joyfully on his way, but just couldn’t hold back the news. He had to tell someone!
Often a person’s biggest obstacle in coming to Jesus is her feelings about herself. It is possible to have faith that Jesus can do miracles, but to doubt that he would want to do one for you.
Put aside your struggling thoughts. Come to Jesus. Bask in his tender look of compassion.
Hear the words he said to the leper: “ I can help you, and I am willing.”