YOU CAN, IF YOU ARE WILLING

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MUSINGS – January 26, 2019

YOU CAN, IF YOU ARE WILLING

Matthew 8:1-4
When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. A man with a serious skin disease came and bowed down in front of him. The man said to Jesus, “Sir, if you’re willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out, touched him, and said, “I’m willing. So be clean!” Immediately, his skin disease went away, and he was clean. Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this! Instead, show yourself to the priest. Then offer the sacrifice Moses commanded as proof to people that you are clean.”

Matthew records that Jesus, having completed his teaching, came down from the mountain and began a series of healings. The first one was a man with a serious skin disease, leprosy.

It was considered that leprosy was punishment from God for the person’s sin. Because it was a mark of sin, the leper was not to go to a physician for diagnoses and treatment. He was to present himself to be examined by the priest. The priest could offer no healing if the skin disease was found to be leprosy. Only God could forgive the sin and remove the disease.

A leper, buy the law of Moses (Leviticus 13) must isolate himself away from everyone except other lepers. He could no longer live with his family. That also meant that he was not allowed in the city. If another person approached him, the leper was required to announce his disease by loudly saying, “Unclean!”

This is the life that this man had been living before coming to Jesus. He came believing that Jesus could heal him. Listen to his words. “Sir, if you’re willing, you can make m, e clean.” He doesn’t say, “If you can.” He only said, “if you’re willing.” Understand that by saying what he said, the man was recognizing that Jesus was God. Jesus immediately declared, “I’m willing. So be clean!” Jesus then sent him to the priest to fulfill the law*.

When we come before the Lord with our petitions, we must come believing that he can. We must also understand that it must be within the will of God, “Not my will but Thine.”

*Leviticus 14:1-22 The LORD spoke to Moses, “These are the instructions for making a person clean after a skin disease. He must be taken to the priest. The priest will go outside the camp and examine him. If the person is healed, the priest will order someone to get two living, clean birds, some cedar wood, red yarn, and a hyssop sprig to use for the cleansing. Then the priest will order someone to kill one bird over a clay bowl containing fresh water. The priest will take the living bird, the cedar wood, the red yarn, and the hyssop sprig and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. He will sprinkle the blood seven times on the one to be cleansed and will declare that person clean. Then he will let the living bird fly away into the open country. “The one to be cleansed must wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash. Then he will be clean. After that he may go into the camp. However, for seven days he will live outside his tent. On the seventh day he must shave off all the hair on his head, his beard, and his eyebrows, and he must wash his clothes and body. Then he will be clean. “On the eighth day he must take two male lambs that have no defects and a one-year-old female lamb that has no defects. He must also take eight cups of flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering along with a quart of olive oil. The priest who will declare him clean must bring the person and his offerings into the LORD’s presence at the entrance to the tent of meeting. The priest will take one of the male lambs and the quart of olive oil and present them to the LORD as a guilt offering. He will slaughter the lamb in the holy place where he slaughters the offering for sin and the burnt offering. He will do this because the guilt offering, like the offering for sin, belongs to the priest. It is very holy. Then the priest will take some of the blood from the guilt offering and put it on the right ear lobe, on the right thumb, and on the big toe of the right foot of the one to be cleansed. The priest will also take some of the olive oil and pour it into his own left hand. He will dip his right finger in the oil in his left hand, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times in the LORD’s presence. The priest will put some of the oil that is still in his hand on the right ear lobe, on the right thumb, and on the big toe of the right foot of the one to be cleansed. These are the same places he had put the blood of the guilt offering. The priest will put the rest of the oil in his hand on the head of the one to be cleansed. So he will make peace with the LORD for that person in the LORD’s presence. The priest will also sacrifice the offering for sin to make peace with the LORD for the one who is being cleansed from his impurity. After that, he will slaughter the burnt offering. The priest will sacrifice the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. So the priest will make peace with the LORD for that person, and the person who had the skin disease will be clean. “But if the one to be cleansed is poor and cannot afford that much, he must take one male lamb, present it to make peace with the LORD for himself, and use it for his guilt offering. He will take only eight cups of flour mixed with olive oil as a grain offering, a quart of olive oil, and two mourning doves or two pigeons (whatever he can afford). The one will be an offering for sin and the other a burnt offering.

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All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

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