By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
In Luke 5, a man suffering from leprosy (a disease that causes severe nerve damage and disfigurement) asks Jesus to heal him…with a caveat.
“While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Luke 5:12 NIV
Jesus’s reply was swift: YES I AM!
“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.” Luke 5:13 NIV
Jesus didn’t bat an eye. He responded immediately in the affirmative and took action.
A Different Response
But wait – didn’t Jesus get a little snappy with someone else when they put a caveat on healing?
“And when they [Jesus, Peter, James and John] came to the disciples, they saw a great multitude around them and experts in the law disputing with them. And immediately the entire multitude, when they saw him, was greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him. And [Jesus] asked them, “What are you disputing with them about?” And one of the multitude answered him, “Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a [devil] spirit that makes him mute, and whenever it takes hold of him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not strong enough.” Mark 9:14-18 REV
If there was an emoji that followed, it would look like this: 🙄. Jesus says, “Oh generation without trust [other versions read “faithless” or “unbelieving” generation], how long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring him to me.” (Mark 9:19)
The boy is brought to Jesus, and immediately, the devil spirit pitches a fit and throws the boy into convulsions.
I just have to pause here and note the great patience and calm of Jesus: he has just come from the Transfiguration, a deep moment and spiritual preview of what was to come in the future, and then walks into a chaotic situation with a crowd that’s arguing, a freaked out dad, frustrated disciples, and a boy that is like a walking version of “The Exorcism” film.
And while yes, there may have been a sigh and rolling of the eyes in his initial comment (although I have a feeling Jesus was beyond such petty displays of emotion), he doesn’t freak. Instead, Jesus just turns to the father and starts asking questions.
Do you think he had to raise his voice to be heard over the boy? Or maybe, Jesus just leaned in and spoke physically close to the man’s ear?
“And [Jesus] asked his father, ‘how long a time has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘from childhood. And often it has thrown him both into the fire and into the waters to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.’” Mark 9:21-22 REV
Now, when the leprous man in Luke 5 brought up an if statement – “if you are willing” – Jesus’s response was a strong ‘yes.’ “I’m willing, be clean.”
So, wouldn’t that be the same response in this situation?
For the first time in this record, Jesus gets a little feisty.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able to! All things are possible for the one who believes.’” Mark 9:23 REV
“What do you mean, ‘if I can?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes.’” Mark 9:23 NLT
Not only does Jesus, who always did his Father’s business, display the Father’s willingness to heal completely, here Jesus focuses on God’s ability to heal. Like the angel Gabriel reminded the virgin Mary when she was told she would have a baby without conception, there is nothing impossible for the Lord.
“Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God, nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:36-37 NKJV
Throughout the Bible, God reminds His servants and His children that there is NOTHING He is unable to do. God has set rules and guidelines and a world of cause and effect that influence results, but none of that changes the fact that God is capable of anything. There is nothing too bad, too strong, or too challenging for Him.
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
The answer to that question posed to the prophet Jeremiah was resoundingly NO. That’s the kind of God we serve, and the kind of Son He has.
And just in case you were wondering, Jesus did kick out the devil spirit and heal that boy.
“And Jesus said to [the father], ‘if you are able to! All things are possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out, and said, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” And when Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he subdued the unclean spirit, saying to him, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter no more into him.” And having cried out, and torn him much, [the spirit] came out, and the boy became as if he were dead, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took [the boy] by the hand and raised him up and he got up.” Mark 9:24-27 REV
Image courtesy of Good News Productions and Paula Nash Giltner
What have you been considering too impossible for the Lord? Take Him at His Word and let God show you this week that there is nothing He can’t do!