If You are Willing
“Once, when Yeshua was in one of the towns, there came a man completely covered with tzara‘at. On seeing Yeshua, he fell on his face and begged him, “Sir, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Luke 5:12
Each time I read this passage from the Gospel of Luke, I come away with a new perspective. Having read it again this morning, I saw something I had not seen before. First, I want to explore the text’s context.
In these days, tzara’at, or skin-scale disease, was believed to have been caused by sin. There was precedence for this belief. As we find in Numbers 12:10, when Miriam exited the Tent of Meeting, following the confrontation with Yahweh over her jealousy of Moses’ relationship with God, But when the cloud was removed from above the tent, Miryam had tzara‘at, as white as snow. This was the primary source for ancient commentators to come to this conclusion. Undoubtedly, the man who came forward to Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, believed his skin-scale disease was caused by sin.
So why did he approach Adonai Yeshua with the words, if you are willing? In this context, the word willing has a very specific understanding. In Hebrew, the mind-set of the afflicted man, the word ‘abah’ means to consent. Notice the implication here: the man knew he was approaching HaShem, Almighty God, otherwise he would not have asked Adonai Yeshua if He was willing to heal him? Notice he did not ask Messiah if He could heal but are You willing to heal – do you consent to heal. In these few words, the afflicted man is displaying his heart to Yahweh and is acknowledging his faith. This interaction clearly follows our understanding, Salvation comes from Grace through Faith, with Faith meaning stepping forward in trust. Thus, the afflicted man stepped forward to ask for healing from Adonai Yeshua, in trust of His being able to heal. Where does Grace come into this picture? Let’s read the next verse, verse 13: Yeshua reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing! Be cleansed!” Immediately the tzara‘at left him. Understanding Yahweh reserves the right to show Grace to whomever He wishes, as we read in Exodus 33:19 – Moreover, I show favor (grace) to whomever I will, and I display mercy to whomever I will, Adonai Yeshua did show His willingness. He saw the man’s heart; He knew the obvious contrition there and the desire to walk a different path.
And this is the strong message for us today: If we step forward in trust of His power, displaying our contrition for our sinful behaviours, desiring to walk a different path, He may heal us and remove from us the punishment which was placed upon us, as a result of our sins. His willingness is not automatic; that is, we cannot assume what He will do – this would give us His powers and make us gods. The key here is the condition of our hearts, at the time we step forward towards Him – expectation, based on assumption, or hope, based on righteous desire.
Beloved, the next time you step towards Him for healing, for cleansing, I urge you to do so only after ensuring the condition of your heart is right with Him.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.