Matthew 8:1-3 says,
1 Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.
Thinking about Jesus and how he interacted with disease is a relevant topic to what’s going on today, and there are a couple of ways to reflect on this passage. What we see on the surface is a man who asks Jesus to heal him, and we assume he was referencing the leprosy because that was what disappeared after Jesus touched him. But was that the fullest extent to which this man was healed? I believe that when this man approached Jesus, when he knelt before him and addressed him as “Lord,” that his faith in Jesus was true, and that is why Jesus was willing to heal him. This man was willing to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. A testament to this man’s faith, he didn’t have the history books and hindsight to have known the greatest miracle of all yet, when Jesus rose to life on Easter morning! He was healed physically, but more importantly, he was healed spiritually by recognizing that Jesus was the Son of God.
We are blessed to already know the truth. The stories have been witnessed, documented, studied, debated and confirmed. Our society has become so different over thousands of years, and it challenges us to live a God-first life. Our faith doesn’t always match that of the leper. I think sometimes, we are guilty of putting our faith in God only when WE need Him. We ask God to help us when we have problems, hardships, anxiety, illness, and more recently, COVID-19 (all of which are great things to talk with God about). But we don’t always talk to God or give Him the credit He’s due when we solve problems, overcome hardships, have calm moments of serenity, and recover from a disease or an injury. We should start giving thanks to God everyday for every blessing, big and small. We should be praising Jesus for the sacrifice He made for us. We should strive to be more like the leper, and put all our faith in God to provide for us what we need, and lead us on the righteous path. We should pray to overcome this virus, but by putting our faith in God to get us through. Our mindset shouldn’t be about how WE need him, but instead how we need HIM. The difference is putting God first.
One last encouraging thought, Jesus told this man that he was willing to heal him. Jesus feels the same way about all of us. He is ready and willing to take our pain away, mental and physical. He is ready to carry the burdens that have held us down. He has forgiven us of our sins, and we just have to kneel before the King, just like the leper, address Him as Lord and recognize that He is Lord.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’