“On Your Mark”
A Gift of Healing (Chapter 1 Verses 40-45)
It is indeed the will of Jesus that he should be clean, ‘be thou clean’ and immediately it is done (v42). But an important point here is that it is not the man’s faith, or the amount of it, but the Lord’s will that is the crucial factor. Of course the intention is always to both create and encourage faith. But there are numerous incidents of healing where there is no faith present in the recipient (Matthew 8.5f). Did those who were possessed by evil spirits believe? Did the widow’s son at Nain believe (Luke 7.11-17)? But surely much in our day that is termed miracle fades away into insignificance in comparison to this? I don’t wish to diminish anyone’s faith, on the contrary, I write to do the opposite, to increase faith. But please let us have reality, let us seek God for healing and salvation and every other blessing promised in his word, but let us be careful and real when we claim that something has been done in God’s name. Instantly, this man’s rotting flesh, riddled, eaten with this normally incurable leprous disease, is blown away. The Divine will and command of the Lord Jesus, his divinity shines through the veil of flesh (John 1.14).
The brief way in which this account is explained in the Scriptures is notable too. Is it not a pointer to the fact of Biblical inspiration? I mean if this were recorded by any other writer than the Holy Spirit, would it not be an endless account, certainly they would not be satisfied with such a brief account? But we can be confident the Book we know as the Bible, the sacred Scriptures are the work God, the word of God, not merely of man (2Peter 1.19-21; 2Timothy 3.15-17), surely another miracle. You can read them, trust them, meditate upon them, live your life by them, stake your very soul upon them, every word is God’s. The Bible does not contain the word of God, it is the word of God. From beginning to end. The greatest need for this man now is not wild enthusiasm but a quiet, consistent testimony in a life of integrity, so Jesus very wisely points him towards a challenge of religious duty (vv43-44). Now we may ask the question as to why Jesus silences this man’s witness and not others? Well it’s because of what Jesus tells him to do next. The news of how he became clean must not reach the priests until they have legally pronounced him clean according to the law of Moses (Leviticus 14.2-32). Now remember it is the priests and the religious establishment that are hostile to the Lord Jesus, so to them first he testifies concerning the work and power of Jesus. It is a testimony against their dead, useless religious tradition which they preferred to the gospel. The question will scream from their minds, how did this man become clean? And when the answer comes, Jesus did it! They are left yet again without excuse. But then unbelief always is.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)