Read Matthew 8
What we know as the Sermon on the Mount had come to an end. How do we know? Jesus came down the mountain. He had plenty more to teach, but his time teaching on this piece of high ground had come to an end.
At this point we are told that large crowds followed him. His message had already reached beyond the 12. He was speaking as one who had authority. He was and is one who speaks with authority.
A man with leprosy came to Jesus. Out of the crowd that was following Jesus, this man made it to the One who could heal him. He knelt before Jesus. His words were words of faith.
He said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” There was no doubt in this man’s mind that Jesus could heal him, but will this Teacher, this Lord, this man who is the King of Kings though most don’t know that yet; will he heal a man deemed unclean by the society of the time?
Contrast this to Mark’s gospel where a man with a demon-possessed son comes before Jesus and asks if Jesus could do anything about it. What a difference a word makes.
Can you? Will you? Faith asks will you. Human nature wonders if he can.
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Jesus didn’t want this man running all over the countryside telling everyone what Jesus had done. I think that from John’s gospels we understand the words present but not written here in Matthew: His time had not yet come.
Jesus did want the religious leaders of this time to know what he had done. There would be much confrontation with them in the time ahead.
For now, understand that if you are willing are words of faith that recognize sovereignty. If you can, speaks to doubt and belies sovereignty. Ask, seek, and knock should sound like familiar verbs from the previous chapter. This man approached Jesus knowing that he could do exactly what he needed.
He asked in faith. Let us always ask in faith.
Ask in faith.