The Gospel of Mark | Willing and Able | Mark 1.40-41 |

by | Oct 17, 2023

“A man with leprosy[h] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was indignant.[i] He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” Mark 1.40-41

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2.4-7

It’s not like we have to beg God to make us whole. We don’t have to plead our dignity away in order to be healed. Of course ultimate healing comes from the Lord and it’s his decision. In addition, true healing is a healing of our souls and a cleansing of our sins rather than a repair of this body of flesh.

The man with leprosy approached Jesus with a simple request/question — “Can you make me clean?” The man came begging, on his knees. He did a few things correct — coming to Jesus, placing himself before Jesus, asking for healing.

The text tells us that Jesus was indignant— i.e. angry or annoyed. Imagine Jesus being so human that he appears annoyed! What the man was asking was well within Jesus’ ability but his question seemed to offend the Son of God. “Of course I am willing! I am able to do this and much more! Do you not think I can?” (My interpretation.) The Message version suggests that Jesus is “deeply moved” but I think annoyance is closer to the truth.

We too come to Jesus with timid, questioning requests — “If you are willing… save my marriage,” and “If you are willing…. heal my spouse,” or “If you are willing… turn my kids back to you.” We ask with only a measure of faith seemingly to question whether God can really do these things. But God, who is rich in mercy (see Ephesians 2) is filled with kindness and love. It is his pleasure to restore humanity. His desire to rescue us from the depths of our depression, and save us from the gates of hell on earth and Hell for eternity.

You bet that Jesus wanted to heal the leper. Jesus wasn’t just willing, he was able. And now back to your situation — he is not just willing to bring hope to your life, he is capable of doing so. What will it take for Christ to heal us? How will we position ourselves before him? Will we lay ourselves confidently before his throne? Will we seek his favor and ask for his grace?

“O Lord God you are faithful. In your kindness you bring love and justice. In your kindness you bring healing. Our world is in much hurt. Death and pain surround us. Suffering is a station of life. But through it all, you are a God of grace and compassion. You are not distant or far removed. You are in the fire with us as you were with the Prophet Daniel. Come now, Holy Spirit, speak words of life. Bring healing in every aspect of our existence. Save your people. Restore your land. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen