Matthew’s Gospel: Willing

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is still the same today—He is still willing!

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If we had any idea of what the Lord is willing to do for us, we would be living different lives today.


Of course, he was a leper, an outcast. He knew had no rights to the right-of-way anywhere. He was expected to announce his approach by shouting, “Unclean! Unclean!”  If he was cynical and suspicious of those in power, it is understandable. His words to Jesus reveal all of this uncertainty,

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Everything stopped. As one man, the multitude following Jesus retreated to a safe distance. Lepers must never be touched. What did Jesus do? He put out His hand and touched the leper, saying.

“I am willing; be cleansed.”

Immediately the leprosy was gone but the rotting bandages remained. Feeling returned to extremities and toes of the man and fingers sprouted were only stumps had been. He stripped away the rags of his life and danced in the sun as whole as a newborn baby. People around him gave praise to God and improvised clothes to the man as great rejoicing rose from the crowd. Finally, the former leper knelt at the feet of his Healer. Jesus spoke to him tenderly, instructing him not to report this to others before telling the priests and offering the Law required.

Capernaum

Jesus was ministering in His home region of Galilee and entered the town of Capernaum when a Roman officer came to Him pleading with Him to heal his servant who was paralyzed and in great pain. When Jesus offered to come and heal him, the officer protested out of profound humility. He thought himself unworthy of a visit from Jesus but he understood the authority of Jesus over afflictions. How did he understand this? Because he was a man of authority over hardened soldiers who obeyed his commands without question. If this were true of him, surely it was also true of Jesus.

“But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.”

Jesus was impressed with the faith of this Roman officer, a man who was not a part of the covenant people of God, he was expressing more faith than those who were.

“Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.”
And his servant was healed that same hour.

Soon after this, Jesus and the Disciples visited the home of Peter and found his wife’s mother sick with a high fever. Jesus touched her and the fever left her. Her strength returned and she went about joyfully serving them all. That evening many people who were sick and others who were tormented by demons came to them and He had the touch each of them required whether a healing touch or a command to demon spirits to depart from them.

The Words of Isaiah

Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah that the Messiah would bear our sicknesses and heal our infirmities. He fulfilled prophesy and it was more than that. He was answering the words of the leper—He was willing! The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is still the same today—He is still willing! We need to understand the power of His authority the way the Roman Centurion did. If we had any idea of what the Lord is willing to do for us, we would be living different lives today.

Scriptures:

Matthew 8:1-17

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”

Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You have all authority! You rule all of nature and stand ready and willing to do for me more than I can imagine, more than I can ask or think. Help me to depend on You more. When I am sick, You are my Healer. When I am in trouble You are my Deliverer. When I don’t know what to do You are my teacher. Help me to never forget that You are willing to help me and able to bring me through any test or trial. Amen and amen.

Song:

He Is Able to Deliver Thee

Words and Music: W. A. Ogden

1. ‘Tis the grandest theme thro’ the ages rung;

Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue;

‘Tis the grandest theme that the world e’er sung:

Our God is able to deliver thee.

Refrain:

He is able to deliver thee, He is able to deliver thee;

Tho’ by sin opprest, Go to Him for rest;

Our God is able to deliver thee.

2. ‘Tis the grandest them in the earth or main;

‘Tis the grandest theme for a mortal strain;

‘Tis the grandest theme, tell the world again:

Our God is able to deliever thee.

Refrain.

3. ‘Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll

To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;

Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole:

Our God is able to deliver thee.

Refrain

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About the Author

Full of passion for Jesus Christ, Stephen Phifer is a third-generation minister with more than three decades of experience as a pastoral artist, worship leader, and conductor.