While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. Luke 5:12-13.
The Lord is willing, but are you?
I have always been moved by the story in Luke that tells of the leper and Jesus. This is the story where the leper comes to Jesus and says, “If you are willing, you can heal me, and you can make me clean.” Jesus looks at this man, broken and hurting, and reaches out his hand of healing and says, “I am wiling, be healed.” The man is immediately healed.
Why did he ask Jesus if he was willing? Why did he wonder if Jesus would be willing to heal him? Leprosy was not a just a physical disease to the Jews; it was a physical representation of the spiritual self. Through-out the Bible leprosy was very significant, because it symbolized the death of sin. It was an outer picture of what sin looked like on the inside to the spirit.
So this man would have been an out-cast from society, broken emotionally as well as physically. In this way he comes to Jesus, utterly broken. I believe he asked Jesus the very question that he should have been asking himself. Jesus sees this and answers. Yes. Yes I am willing.
The Lord’s answer will always be the same. Will you heal me Lord? Are you willing? Yes is always the Lord’s answer. He wants us to be complete, to be whole, to be completely whole through Him. The question is really to us. The man asked Jesus, “Are you willing to heal me?” but really Jesus is asking the man, “Are You willing to be healed?”
I see this over and over in life. Sometimes I see it in the mirror, sometimes I hear it on the phone with a close friend, sometimes I watch it over a cup of coffee with a sister. We come to the Lord, asking for healing, asking to live whole, to live complete, but what we really want is to stay right where we are. The Lord is willing; it is we who are not. We are not willing to walk upright, to use both legs, to follow the plan that we have been created for, so we stay lepers. We stay broken, diseased, hurting and shunned. Why? Because healing can hurt, healing can be hard, healing can be an uphill battle and healing can be a walk into the unknown.
We allow our affliction to become a lover that takes all and gives nothing but pain in return. Victim becomes a more than a title. It becomes a name we graft our identities to. As victims, we do not have to face the hard questions, and we do not have to wash ourselves with cleansing truth. We know no other way, so we stay broken, we stay lepers because it is easier to stay the same.
We complain, and hurt others, and rage against the wind, and cry out to the Lord for healing, for a better way, but we refuse the healing. Jesus is always standing in front of us with His hand of healing outstretched, ready to touch and ready to heal. We stand ever in front of him asking, begging, mocking him for healing, but never touching his hand. So, We. Stay. Lepers. His answer? His answer is Yes, He is willing, but my question is, Are you willing to be healed?