“I am willing"
Luke 5:12-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He reached out with His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He ordered him to tell no one, saying, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
17 One day He was teaching, and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the Law sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. 18 And some men were carrying a man on a stretcher who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. 19 But when they did not find any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 And seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began thinking of the implications, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, except God alone?” 22 But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, responded and said to them, “Why are you thinking this way in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 25 And immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. 26 And they were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God. They were also filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today!”
27 After that He went out and looked at a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” 28 And he left everything behind, and got up and began following Him.
Today’s text begins saying: While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” And He reached out with His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him. The man covered with leprosy did not doubt Jesus ability to heal him, only His willingness. Jesus response was, I am willing. Like the man, we sometimes think that perhaps even though He has the power to do what we need or ask, we believe that we are unworthy. We see ourselves, like the man, from the world’s perspective. We believe what we have been told, that we are not good enough, that perhaps we deserve the situation or circumstances we are in. We should neither question God’s ability to do what we need, He is omnipotent, nor should we question His will, as Jesus said then, He still says today, I am willing.
In John 14:13-14 Jesus says: “Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Why then do some of our prayers seem to go unanswered? The context the verses that precede and follow what Jesus says will shed some light for us. Verses 12 and 15 say: “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father… If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” So, first Jesus is talking about doing His works. He says He will do it if we are doing what He is doing. In John 5:19 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way.” If we are doing Jesus work, doing what the Father is doing, we can rest assured that it will be done. Second, Jesus says that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. We cannot ask in His name, if we are not walking in His way.
In truth though, not only is God able to do whatever we need and not only is He willing, in John 19:30, when Jesus was on the cross, He said: “It is finished!” Long before Jesus lived and died for us, Isaiah 53:4-6 says: It was our sicknesses that He Himself bore, And our pains that He carried; Yet we ourselves assumed that He had been afflicted, Struck down by God, and humiliated. But He was pierced for our offenses, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him, And by His wounds we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the wrongdoing of us all To fall on Him. Even before Jesus was crucified, the prophet speaks in the past tense. All that we need was fully accomplished on the cross. It is done in eternity. When we sometimes don’t see the answers to our prayers, it is not that God is not able. It is not that we are unworthy and He is unwilling. None of us are worthy on our own, but everyone is worthy through the cross. The reason we sometimes might not see the answer to our prayers, is that our finite time has not aligned with eternity. The circumstances and situations on earth and in our lives have not aligned with what is already finished in heaven. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray saying: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven… The answer to every need that we have is for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, for the realities of the kingdom of heaven to impact and change the situations on earth.
The text says: The news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Like Jesus, we too sometimes need to slip away from the noise and the chaos of the world, to hear and see what the Father is doing. We need to pray and seek God’s presence. Hebrews 4:15-16 says: We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We don’t need to slip away to the wilderness, but rather to the throne of grace in heaven. There we will find grace and mercy for whatever we need. There we will see the finished work, the answer to Jesus prayer.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.