When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing…” – Matthew 8:1-3
Matthew 8 is full of stories of Jesus healing others. I love how the chapter begins when the man with leprosy comes and kneels down in front of Jesus and asks him if he is willing to heal him. Jesus’ response is so typical of his character. I am willing.
When you read the rest of the chapter you encounter a Roman centurion whose servant was paralyzed back home, Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick in bed with a fever, and then later the text says:
“When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”
Notice it says that Jesus healed all the sick. It struck me that there is never a verse in the New Testament that says Jesus ever turned down someone’s request to be healed. It seems that not only was Jesus willing, but he was always willing.
The very next verse in Matthew 8:17 tells us why:
“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Matthew quotes from the famous prophecy in Isaiah 53:4, a prophecy written some 600 years before the birth of Christ. In it, it details not only the life and character of Christ, but also his death and what his death would mean. Jesus took our sins and brought forgiveness. But that was not all. Isaiah also predicted that Jesus’ blood would also take our infirmities and bear our diseases.”
How amazing is that?
See Jesus came to deal with sin, and all of its affects. Jesus’ salvation is not only one that changes us morally, but it also has promise for us physically as well. When Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, the idea was that the Messianic kingdom was now breaking into the kingdom of darkness. It was because of sin and darkness that we had death, disease, and decay. But now because of the work of Christ and the coming of the kingdom, death and disease can now be done away with and healed.
This is why Jesus never turned anyone down for healing. The works of healing were the evidence of the coming kingdom itself—the proof that the old age of sin and darkness was passing away, and the new age of grace and healing was already beginning.
Whether we receive healing in this life or the next, the promise still remains there for us today. God’s desire is for us to be made well, inside and out. His will was never disease, and death. Jesus is still willing.
I look forward to that day when all will be made new, and the kingdom has come in its fullness. As the father of a child of TBI I pray for that day to come sooner rather than later. Amen and amen.