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“If you are willing, You can make me clean.”
We pick up from last week with evening coming at Peter’s mother in law being healed and serving them. At evening when the sun had set, they bring Jesus all kinds of people.
The Scripture says Jesus heals many…. so we can deduce that he does not heal all…. it says many. In this case and in others, it says Jesus healed some and not others. Jesus’ disciples do it too. In Acts, after Jesus died and rose again and the disciples took the authority Jesus gave them, Peter and John heal a lame man who was begging at one of the popular gates to the temple. I preach a sermon about the others who surely had their problems as well – who had to have been begging at such a popular spot, but the story only mentions Peter healing one man. What about the others who Peter did not heal? So back to our Scripture at hand – they brought all kinds of people who were sick and demon possessed and Jesus heals many. And then He went to bed. We know this because it says, He arose well before daylight.
Then in the morning, Jesus got up early and prayed and when the guys came looking for Jesus to tell Him that everyone is looking for Him. Jesus said – We’re going to leave here, basically – “leave those people who are looking for me”, and head to some other towns. He says he’s going to preach in these other places – “I am going to preach in these other towns and for this purpose I have come forth”. Some people preach this as this is why Jesus came to earth. “For this purpose I have come forth”. I have studied it and I do not believe this is why Jesus is saying He came into the world – to preach. I believe Mark is telling us that when Jesus says “for this purpose I have come forth” He is saying “This is why I am leaving Capernaum” So anyhow – Jesus preaches in the synagogues and casts out demons all throughout Galilee.
There is a leper who is glad He did. A leper comes up to Jesus and says “If you are willing, you can make me clean”.
If you are willing, you can heal me.
Jesus said – “I am willing… be cleansed”
A friend Dee Morgan – “I’ve always struggle with why some people die, whether from an illness or an accident, and others do not – How the same circumstances for two people can have such different outcomes – How some lives last only a few minutes and others for 100 years. I struggle sometime with seeing how “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” But, I trust my Lord, and I know that He is forever Faithful and True. His ways are certainly not mine, and His ways are best because He knows EVERYTHING! And I understand fully that our time on this earth is only a blip in time to Him, and a very small part of our existence. And, most importantly, I know He will NEVER leave me. He loves me, even though I struggle, He loves me.”
“I just read in Mark this morning where the leper said “if you will you can heal me.” And I was thinking when I read that that is one of the most difficult things about Christianity. God can do anything and sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t.”
And deep down I know why he sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t–
He sees and knows everything. I only see a snippet. I am fueled by my immediate wants and needs. Jesus sees the bigger picture. It is Garth Brooks’ – “unanswered prayers”.
He is working in ways that I cannot see or understand. This is where faith and trust come in.
This leper story is not likely the 10 leper story. Luke tells of this same leper story and then later in Luke 17 tells of the 10 lepers.
So in this story the leper says to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can cleanse me”.
Jesus says…. hmmm, I am willing and I’ll do that. be cleansed.” And BAM – the guy no longer has leprosy. Jesus says – for now, let’s just keep this between me and you. And even thought Jesus told the guy that, the guy goes blabbing – “loose lips sink ships” –
It’s like finding out gas is 25 cents a gallon at the Mountaineer Mart. Traffic control is needed. They’re coming at Jesus from every direction.
We begin chapter 2 with Jesus heading back to Capernaum – probably back to Peter’s house.
In this account, Mark notes that Jesus was “at home” in Capernaum. Once again, as had happened that first night in Capernaum, Jesus was ministering in a house, as I said – likely Simon’s home where he was staying. The houses were relatively small, and there were perhaps twenty or thirty people surrounding him as he taught, with more standing in the doorway and at the windows. Diane and I experienced this in Africa and in Haiti – people hanging out even at the windows. So, when the friends of a paralyzed man brought him on a stretcher to be touched and healed by Jesus, they could see that there was no getting into the house.
Some friends would have given up, saying, “We’ll have to bring you to Jesus another time,” but not these friends. Refusing to take “no” for an answer, they climbed to the roof of Simon’s house, hoisting their paralyzed friend up with them and intending to lower him through the roof. Luke tells us that the roof consisted of tiles. Mark tells us, in the Greek, that they dug through the roof, which would imply a roof made of mud and reed or palm branches. In either case, these men were determined that Jesus would touch their friend, and they were willing to tear the roof off Simon’s house to see that it happened.
Can you imagine the boisterous Simon Peter looking up as dust began to fall from the ceiling, then seeing the four men pulling off the roof to lower their friend? I can imagine him roaring in anger, “What in the name of Abraham are you doing to my house!?” But I picture Jesus reaching out his hand to calm Peter down.
The men lowered their friend before Jesus. Mark tells us, “Seeing their faith, he spoke to the paralytic” and healed him. In other words, the man was healed not because of his own faith, but due to the faith Jesus saw in his friends!
Everyone needs stretcher bearers like these—friends who will carry you when you are at your weakest, friends who not only will pray for you but will do whatever it takes to help you get back on your feet. In my experience, the only way to have such stretcher-bearers is to be a stretcher-bearer like that for someone else. Who are your stretcher-bearers? Whose stretcherbearer are you? Investing in them could change your life. It did for a man in Capernaum. – Adam Hamilton
Why do you think the friends brought their friend to Jesus?
I think they probably took him there because they had heard about Jesus healing people. And we can rationalize that the friends brought their friend to Jesus so Jesus would make him able to walk. Like us, they see the ability to walk as his greatest need.
Here we go with “His ways are above our ways”. What Jesus saw as the paralytic’s greatest need was to be forgiven of his sin and to be reconciled to God. I can picture Jesus saying, “I assumed you brought him here to be forgiven.”
Here’s what we don’t get. At that time – people thought that if you were a leper, if you were unable to walk, if you were blind, whatever it was – they thought that it was a curse from God. They thought you had done something to deserve it – or your father or mother had done something to deserve it. That it was a punishment from God. And they thought this for good reason. The Lord…
visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6-7 = Deuteronomy 5:8-10) “Because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.” (Leviticus 26:39) So the people see a man who is lame and believe he’s done something wrong. So when they lower him down and Jesus says ‘Your sins are forgiven” – there are several issues here. First, the pharisees would have been upset because they taught that to be forgiven you had to go to the temple. And you had to pay. If Jesus could declare people forgiven, can you see how that could cut into the finances of the pharisees? And secondly, how could one’s sins be forgiven if they were still paralyzed? It didn’t make any sense. So Jesus knows what the lame man needs and tells the man his sins are forgiven and the Pharisees are not happy. They say only God can forgive sins, which is right. What they don’t understand is that God is standing right in front of them. Then Jesus heals the man physically. It’s not because the man “needs” that, even though the man surely WANTS that. It’s likely so everyone there would know that Jesus wasn’t just saying the man’s sins were forgiven, but by showing them that he could physically heal the man that it would show His authority and to show them that He had authority to forgive sins. The man received two healings that day. Spiritual healing and physical healing.
The religious people primarily had a problem with the spiritual healing and Jesus just followed up the spiritual healing with a physical healing just so everyone would know that just as Jesus could make you physically whole, he could make you spiritually whole. You can definitely see the one – sometimes people might wonder about the other.
We are going to end today with “If you are willing, You can make me clean.”
Greek – katharizó – cleanse, make clean, literally, ceremonially, or spiritually, according to context.
Jesus makes the leper physically clean. Jesus makes the lame man clean inside and out. It’s like on Holy Week when Jesus is looking at the tombs in the graveyard. Matthew and Luke use the same word Katharizo – cleanse –
Jesus says the Pharisees are like the whitewashed tombs in the cemetery. The outside is katharizo, but the inside is no katharizo. The inside is dirty and in need of Katharizo.
“If you are willing, You can make me clean.”
Back to Dee’s statement – Sometimes people die – some of you have loved ones entirely too young. Some of you have tragically lost kids. And it’s the toughest thing to imagine that God could have intervened to make things go differently. Elvis could still be alive – he would be younger than some of you here at 85 if he were alive today. God could have intervened. But He had his reasons. Diane’s sister was in her early 50’s in 2014 when days before she would not be physically healed, she was spiritually cleansed – and Jesus was willing to give her the cleansing and healing that matters in eternity. And God was gracious enough to let us in on His cleansing. While sometimes He does not bring about the safety and security and changing circumstances to bring the healing we want – He is always willing to provide the cleansing we need. Are you willing Lord? Yes. Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved. In eternity – that is what matters.