Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3
March 18, 2007
13 And he put forth his
hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
1901 ASV Translation
13 And he stretched forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou made clean. And straightway the leprosy departed from him.
14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go thy way, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
15 But so much the more went abroad the report concerning him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed of their infirmities.
16 But he withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed.
- I. Jesus' Response to the Leper's Humility.
- A. "Having extended His hand, He touched him saying...".
- 1. The extension of His hand to touch is deliberately "counter-leprosy" behavior. Most, if not all, of the religious establishment would have recoiled to a "safe" distance before unloading on the leper for his sins.
- 2. The "saying" is weighted with Truth - a deduction made from the use of "lego" as the verb employed.
- B. "I am willing...".
- 1. This is the most problematic issue in the text.
- a. As with the leper, we have little "problem" with the "ability" of Jesus ("...Be made clean, and immediately the leprosy departed from him.").
- b. Our "problem" is in the claim that He was "willing".
- 1) Why, if He, as the Son of God, was "willing" at this point in history and with this particular leper, is He not also just as "willing" at every point of history and with every person who comes to Him?
- a) The apostle Paul asked three times for deliverance from a "thorn in the flesh" and was turned down.
- b) Stephen was murdered for telling the Jews the truth, as was James, but Peter was delivered from a similar fate by angels until much later.
- c) History is filled with "requests" by "lepers" that go unfulfilled.
- 2) Does anyone suppose that this leper had not asked the Father on many previous occasions for cleansing?
- 2. It appears that, just as we make decisions one way one day and another way on another day, God also makes decisions in regard to our "points in time" that give every impression of "whimsey".
- a. But this introduces the reality of "impressions". They are, invariably, developed by interested individuals who, also invariably, have little to no grasp of the magnitude of the divine knowledge, wisdom, and program, and have little to no grasp of the impact that a decision will have downline. Nor do they have any great interest in those matters: they, typically, care only about their immediate matter of concern. And not only that, but their "care" is very typically highly selfish. With these facts in mind, we must understand that "impressions" are immediately "suspect" and need to be held at arms length in the light of Solomon's wisdom in both Ecclesiastes 3:14 and 8:17.
- b. The most significant issue involved with this text is whether a man will actually believe the testimony of the Scriptures in respect to the character of God.
- 1) If a man is willing to believe the Scriptures, he is free to do two things with great confidence: he can ask of the Father whatever he chooses; and he can accept the Father's answer whatever He chooses.
- 2) This record is in the record not to encourage us to expect that we will get whatever we shall ask but to establish the actual identity of Jesus. Our lives are not in the "getting", but in the "knowing". When John's courage began to falter, Jesus healed some lepers so that his knowledge could be reinforced and, thereby, his courage could be reestablished (Matthew 11).