Summary: Some days everything is right and others everything is wrong; to get through them place our faith in the Christ. When we put our faith in Jesus christ, we are to be bold in proclaiming that faith.
Every day in our lives is not necessarily a good day. Once in awhile we experience bad days; maybe even some horrible days. Days which will make us question the possibility of another tomorrow or may even challenge our relationship with GOD. Hopefully, no one here is in the habit of placing blame on GOD when one of those really super-bad days dumps on us. Yet, when those days do come, and they will, what must we do in order to survive through them?
“A leper came to Him begging Him, and kneeling he said to Him, ‘If You choose, You can make me clean.’” This is probably the only answer to “what must we do.” This man’s body was being destroyed by the disease of leprosy. Many commentaries have downplayed the severity of the disease and even say it could have been nothing more than a severe case of skin rash. Under the prevailing Jewish legal traditions, any blotchy skin condition was considered to make a person ritually unclean. Reverend Fred Craddock suggests this leper was “a corpse, haunting the edges of the community he could no longer enter.” * It does not matter the severity of the disease with which this man is suffering; he is still an outcast and is not allowed to be part of society. His condition keeps him from being employed. He is banished from the temple and cannot worship as he desires. Everywhere he goes he must announce “Unclean, unclean!” Then he watches as people turn from him in fear and disgust; or they throw things at him, curse him, and chase him away.
Notice how this leper approached Jesus. He came begging and kneeling, indicating he recognized the holy power which was in Jesus. He came to the LORD seeking the mercy only Jesus Christ was able to give. This man was in desperate straits and he came to the only source of mercy available to him. Unlike many who feel they are deserving of better than they have, this man humbled himself before the Son of GOD. He submitted himself in supplication and worship, yearning for the healing power of Jesus to cleanse him of this dread disease. There was a great faith within the heart of this leper; a faith of healing mercy.
When he spoke to Jesus, he said, “If You choose, You can make me clean.” Not, “Jesus, You have to do this for me.” Neither did he question Jesus’ abilities to heal, as the man with the demon-possessed son would later question Jesus. There is a great difference between “If You choose” and “If You are able.” Responding to the plea of the leper Jesus said, “I do choose. Be made clean!” “You asked through faith, you know I have the power of the Father to heal; therefore, be made clean.” But, in response to the father of the demon-possessed son, Jesus was more forthright. “If you are able! All things can be done for the one who believes.” “Yes, I am able, but do you really believe I am capable of exorcizing this demon from your son?” Jesus knew this to be so; when He was in the Garden at Gethsemane He also bowed before GOD and asked, “If You choose, remove this cup from Me.” The power to heal is only from GOD through GOD’s Son, Jesus Christ.
When we have faith in the power of Christ we can be assured He will hear our pleas for mercy and in His compassion will remove whatever problem faces us. Throughout the Scripture, pertaining to the ministry of Jesus, are many accounts of persons seeking mercy and Jesus responding in like manner. Remember Martha at the tomb of Lazarus, “Martha said to Jesus, ‘LORD, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that GOD will give You whatever You ask of Him.” There was also the woman with an issue of blood, “But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’” As both these incidents remind us, what we believe of the power of Christ we must claim for our needs placed before Jesus. We must be ready to say, “Jesus, You can do this for me, if it is Your will – If You choose.”
“Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’” With compassion Jesus responded to the request of the leper. We can be assured we serve a compassionate GOD who sees our suffering, sees our faith, and understands our circumstances; then in GOD’s time will move to make us well. The leper “begged” and “kneeled” before Christ. If we are to expect to receive mercy and grace from Jesus, we must also ascribe honor and glory, and approach Him with humility and deep reverence.