By Chuck Griffin
Like yesterday, I hope you’re clicking the Scripture link and taking time to absorb some powerful stories about faith and healing. Also like yesterday, our verses reference leprosy and a soldier who desires something from God.
Today we are in the New Testament, and Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, provides the healing, a foreshadowing of the healing he later would offer all the world on the cross.
Two key points from the story of the leper who comes seeking healing:
First, the man, an outcast from society because of his disease, phrases his request with a particular nuance: “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” The leper makes clear his understanding that he is subject to the will of God, seen at work in Jesus, whom we understand to be God in flesh. The leper’s hope is that God has a loving, restorative character—that he is the kind of God who wants to overcome sickness in the world, which is part of the brokenness of creation caused by human sin.
Jesus’ response brings us to the second point. Not only is he willing to grant healing, he touches the leper in doing so. This technically should have rendered Jesus unclean. It is a powerful gesture, one reminding us of just how personally God engaged with humanity to make eternal healing possible. The cross later would bring far greater shame and humiliation than this ritual uncleanliness.
The second story, the one about the soldier who seeks healing for a beloved servant, reminds us of the immediate power of straightforward faith. In short, the officer, drawing on his military background, makes an assertion. Just say the word, and it will happen, Jesus. Even our savior is astonished.
In other places in the gospels, Jesus talks about the power of having the tiniest bit of faith. We can, however, be gifted early in life with an unusually confident faith—or over time, we can grow into such confidence as we live our lives with God more and more.
Such faith seems to bring astonishing results. What an incentive to walk daily with God!
Lord, meet us in the faith we have, and through the presence of your Holy Spirit, grow us in our faith so we may better join in the work of your present and growing kingdom. Amen.