Summary: A sermon for the 6th Sunday after the Epiphany Making a leper clean
6th Sunday after Epiphany
"If You Will"
40 ¶ And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.”
42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
43 And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once,
44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”
45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
"There is Jesus, I have heard he has healed many people, I have heard he is a man of compassion and a man of power. I wonder if he can make me well?? No, I don’t wonder, I believe, I know deep within me that he can. I cannot go begging him to heal me, or demanding that he does, but I will go an ask that whatever he wills for my life, then so be it. I will approach Jesus and ask that his will be done in my life."
That thought came from the leper in our gospel story this morning. I like this passage of scripture because it has many important items for us to see.
First the scripture says; And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
Notice the first item of importance. The leper said, "If you will". If you will. no demand, no pleading, no begging, no bargaining with Jesus, just a simple statement, "if you will". The leper let his healing be in the hands of Jesus. If you will.
Being a leper, this man was taking a chance that Jesus might walk away as the scribes and Pharisees did, or cast stones at him, or taunt him like many of the people were accustomed to doing, but he felt that Jesus was different, that this man might just be the one who could change his whole life.
So he approached Jesus, not demanding that Jesus do anything, but coming to him and letting Jesus’ will be done. He didn’t come to Jesus saying, you have to heal me, but he was willing to take a risk, saying If you will. In other words, he was saying to Jesus, I am putting my whole life into your hands, if you will you can cure me, and if you decide I shall remain this way, then so be it. Isn’t that an act of faith, a tremendous act of surrender, an attitude that tells us something about this man’s convictions, and this man’s belief in Jesus Christ.
If you will. If you will heal me then I will be grateful, but if healing does not come, what then? Maybe he would tag along with Jesus to see if Jesus would do it another time. We don’t know because healing came.
The text says that Jesus is moved with piety stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, " I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy led him and he was made clean. Jesus didn’t forsake the man, he didn’t turn his back on him, he didn’t ignore him, he didn’t tell him he had to do something before he would act. Jesus was moved with petty and reached out to touch this man, and made him clean.
Jesus acted. Jesus acted because he knew how lonely, how miserable, how forsaken this man was. Jesus acted because no one else would. Jesus acted because the rest of society forsook this man, Jesus acted because this man’s own religion ignored him, because they couldn’t be bothered.
Jesus reached out when no one else would. Jesus acted.
Jesus is like the friend in the following:
A man fell into a ditch. A doctor walked by the and the man yelled out to him. The doctor walked on by and flipped a prescription into the ditch.
A priest walked by and the man yelled again for help. The priest stood over the man and offered aprayer.
Sometime later a man walked by, seeing the man in the ditch and hearing his call for help, the man jumped into the ditch.
The man in the ditch said,"How are we going to get out now that you are now here ,too.