Luke 5:12-16 (ESV)
12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
While Jesus was in Galilee, a man full of leprosy approached him. This skin disease was absolutely horrible for the person who contracted it. This leper had an advanced, “stage four” case. Because of his condition, he was considered unclean and cut off from the community. In desperation, he fell down before Jesus, begging him to remove the disease. Although the leper looked to Jesus as his only hope, he sought help with a respectful attitude towards Jesus’ authority. Jesus agreed to heal the man, and immediately the leprosy was gone. When the leper next appeared before the priest to make an offering for his cleansing, the religious leaders would be shocked, and the news would quickly spread. Now, Jesus didn’t have to heal this man. If Jesus chose to walk away, nothing “unfair” would have occurred. The leper approached Jesus in humility, aware that Jesus didn’t owe him anything. There were many sick and hurting people around Jesus during his ministry, and he passed a lot of them by without helping them. Was Jesus in error? Did he miss the mark regarding what God called him to do? Not at all! In fact, Jesus actually came to his Father with the same reverential attitude. At the moment of his greatest crisis in the Garden of Gethsemane before the cross, Jesus said to his Father, in essence “This is what I want, but I am willing to be in alignment with whatever you want for me.” When the Father rejected Jesus’ desire for a way out, it was for the greater good, and Jesus embraced that truth.
What are you praying for today? Are you coming before God with the same attitude of deference towards the Lord and his will? Don’t stop asking him for your desires. But remember that if he doesn’t give you what you want, no injustice has occurred. And yet, God promises to answer this prayer: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. God promises to receive us every single time we come to him in repentance and faith. That should blow us away! We should never tire of confidently asking God to restore our intimacy with him and draw us closer to his side. And we should continue to ask him for everything else, mindful of his loving wisdom, even when the answer is not what we hoped for.