Summary: IT'S A COLLISION OF WORSHIP AND WILLINGNESS, OF SURRENDER AND SOVEREIGNTY. As I bow before Him as my Lord and Master, and articulate to Him what only He can do in my life, Jesus says "I am willing" and another mountain is moved.
Matthew 8:1-4 - Part 1 - WHEN MY WORSHIP AND HIS WILLINGNESS COLLIDE!
I was a big kid in primary school. I matured before most other boys, and towered above them. Most kids stayed away from me. It didn't help when at 14, I grew a beard. Further alienation, this time from my teachers who thought I was being rebellious. I was of course but that's not the point.
It got worse when I became a Christian that year. It definitely didn't help my popularity when I tried to get others to respond to Christ and what He had done for them on the Cross. They didn't want to know Him and they didn't want to know me. Still, I can't imagine what it would have been like for the man in Matthew 8:2, as he waited for Jesus to come down from the mountain. If you think you have no friends and you have been alienated, you need to read this short story about the man healed by Jesus of leprosy. Leprosy has a stigma attached to it like AIDS.
Jesus finally finishes His Leadership Training 101 course with His disciples on the mountain, and He comes down to the people who have gathered. What about His disciples? Were they ready? I don't think so. Not in our terms anyway. Maybe a further 2 years training in a Theological College and then an ordination service. Then maybe further training as Youth Pastors for a while. That would probably qualify them to be able to pray for people.
No, there's no Bachelor of Theological Understanding or Masters of Healing here. It's just the Master Healer at work and Jesus thinks they are ready to observe Him at work. His curriculum is simple - INFORMATION, OBSERVATION, APPLICATION - LISTEN TO THE TEACHING, WATCH HOW IT'S DONE AND THEN DO IT YOURSELF. Some practical on-the-job training, after His teaching on the mountain.
There comes a time when courses and preparation and information is enough and you simply get on with putting into practise. You apply what you know and as you do the work of ministry, Jesus teaches you even more along the way.
Don't get me wrong. Jesus believed in solid Bible teaching. Otherwise His disciples wouldn't have spent time being mentored by Him on the mountain. But His teaching and application is about half and half. HALF DOCTRINE (Oh, we don't like that word, but let's get over it because Jesus did teach the doctrines of the Word of God. Then HALF APPLICATION. He didn't just tack on the application part on the end of every message. He actually lived it and put it into action and got His disciples involved.
Jesus was popular. Large crowds followed Him, and had obviously been waiting for a long time since chapter 5 to hear Him speak. Before he got the opportunity to speak "... a man with leprosy approached Him and knelt before Him. "Lord," the man said, "if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean." The man wasn't asking for a bath but by law, if a person had leprosy, they were called "UNCLEAN". William Barclay says that leprosy was the worst of diseases in Jesus' time, and it was greatly feared. It was disfiguring and sometimes fatal (The Gospel of Matthew, Vol.1, p.300).
He was believing that Jesus could not only heal him physically, but also take away the stigma and label of being unclean socially.
Jesus didn't say "Wait until I've finished preaching and I'll call you up for prayer." What is it with Jesus? He doesn't seem to have a proper order of service? He seems more needs driven than we are. We would invite this "leper" to the next healing service, or just take him to be quarantined in a hospital. Can't have people with leprosy walking around infecting people, especially in a crowd.
A person with leprosy was considered completely unclean-physically and spiritually. He could not approach within six feet of any person including family members. According to Leviticus 13:45-46 (NLT) "Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!' As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.
So this man who came to Jesus is obviously breaking the law of the day and the Mosaic Law. He was an outcast and abandoned by family and friends. He obviously came secretly to Jesus. Maybe he covered himself up to disguise his leprous wounds.
Notice Jesus doesn't spend an hour praying for the man. He simply says "I am willing. Be healed!" and he was. Now that's a miracle right there! First recorded healing of Jesus! No fuss! No frills! No fanfare! No special meeting! He's not trying to drum up a crowd. Jesus wasn't paid to heal the man.