Daily Word

I am willing! | Matthew 8:1-4

1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2 And a leper came up to Him and bowed down before Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You are able to make me clean (well).” 3 Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one [about this]; but go, show yourself to the priest [for inspection] and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony (evidence) to them [of your healing].”

Matthew 8:1-4 (AMP)

Never a break

Jesus has ended His Sermon on Christian living (Sermon on the Mount). The crowds are astonished. Time for a break. Nope. No rest for the weary. He starts now to demonstrate His authority by doing miracles. These are the first miracles our Lord ever performed. 

What is leprosy?

First up is a leper who asks Jesus to heal him. Leprosy back then was more of a general term for skin disease. “Anyone suspected of having this disease had to go to a priest for examination (Leviticus 13:2-3). If found to be infected, “the leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’…His dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45-46). ” (gotquestions.org)

If ever they were healed, “The Mosaic Law prescribed specific sacrifices to be conducted upon the healing of a leper, and when the man reported it to the priests, they no doubt had to perform ceremonies that were rarely (if ever) done (Leviticus 14).” (enduringword.com)

Can He heal a leper?

This is among the first of His miracles. Is He ready for it? Will it “work”? Maybe He should practice in private first, not in front of a crowd. There’s a bit of a risk. But risk is measured by a calculated assessment of the likelihood of something happening (or not). So what’s the risk of Jesus doing a miracle? They didn’t know, but we do.

And note also that the leper “bowed down before {Jesus}” and called Him “Lord” (v2). This was a sign of worship and faith. It was the first time Jesus is called “Lord” in Matthew. Faith is a key part of healing.

Is He willing?

So the real question is not can He but will He heal? This man was very humble it seems. Based on how lepers were treated (see gotquestions.org article), that is understandable. Normally, they weren’t even allowed in public places. So he makes his way to Jesus and asks this astonishing teacher. Indirectly he may have reflected some thoughts of the crowd, “You can preach but can you really help people, can you heal?”

I am willing!

“I am willing!”, is Jesus’ reply to the leper. His will is to heal him. There is no hesitation on the part of Jesus. How did He heal him? “Jesus reached out His hand and touched him” (v3). He didn’t need to touch him to heal, but Jesus knew the man needed emotional healing as well. It was also a witness to the crowd. And he was healed immediately!

Jesus commanded him to fulfill the OT law (Leviticus 14). This would allow the religious leaders to formally accept him back into society and remove the stigma. 


Is there any miracle Jesus can’t do? Actually, yes. Any that are not according to His will or, where the faith element is missing. But often, it’s the miracle that’s never asked of Him! What are you waiting for? (Matthew 7:7) Know that Jesus is willing. Not just to heal bodies, but also souls, relationships, situations. Just ask!

Leprosy in two old men. Image from thenewhumanitarian.org *

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