WE ALL HAVE QUESTIONS – Are they Questions of Doubt or Questions of Faith?

Matthew 8:1-4 – “When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, ” See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”  NASB

This is an interesting question and is in the same category as the question Jesus as the man at the Pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to get well?”  It reminds me of the question Moses asked Pharaoh about the frogs, “When shall I remove them?”  

The man at the pool began to explain why he had not gotten his healing rather than answer the question.  Pharaoh delayed until the next day to get relief.  Here the leper, who I am certain was hopeful but uncertain, said to Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing….”  The question in my mind was whether this was a question of doubt or faith laced with the human idea of deserving.  Actually, it is not a question at all but a statement.

The leper, an outcast, speaks to our Lord with confidence and question. He is confident that God can.  Multitudes in the Body of Christ are in the same boat as this man.  They believe God can, but they are uncertain if He will or if He still performs the miracle they need today. 

I cannot imagine teaching a Gospel that relegates the miracles of Jesus to a bygone era and limits God in what He can, will, and wants to do.  If I relegate the miracles of Jesus to a bygone era, it lessens my responsibility to believe and receive.  I would then not feel the pressure to exercise faith for someone else as they faced a dire need, such as a miracle of healing. 

This leper’s statement revealed his uncertainty as to the willingness of Jesus to do anything for him.  It could have been due to the way the Jews viewed leprosy.  They considered it a sign of God’s displeasure, and this man, a leper, would have felt condemned and outside the scope of God’s willingness.  It could be because he did not feel worthy of Jesus doing this. 

The response of Jesus is encouraging.  The matter-of-fact way that Jesus responded indicated that it disappointed him that there would even be the question of willingness.  At the same time, our Lord gladly used this as a ‘teaching moment’ for the Pharisees and all who observed. 

The Pharisees would be appalled that anyone would touch a leper, which was taboo.  Jesus once again demonstrated His power of disease and ‘touched him,’ bringing healing to the leper.  Jesus followed the Law in His instructions to the Leper, for only the priest could pronounce someone clean.  Jesus knew that once this man went to the priest and the pronouncement of cleanness was given, the testimony of the leper would be spread like wildfire.

The caution or concern I have is that we sometimes tag all our prayers with “If it be your will” when the Word of God has declared His willingness to do many, if not most, of those things we are asking.  I love the clarity of John in 1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, HE HEARS US.  And if we KNOW that He hears us in whatever we ask, we KNOW that we have the request which we have asked from Him.”  [Emphasis mine]. 

Do you grasp that truth?  If we ask according to His will, He Hears us, and if He Hears us, He Grants the petition.  Nothing ambiguous there!  The key is determining the will and then asking.  If the Word declares it is His will, then we can come boldly before the throne and ask what we will.  If we are unclear, then our prayer should be to determine what the will is and then offer the petition with complete confidence that we asked according to His will, and He guaranteed, He would Hear us and Grant our petition. That is incredible and wonderful.

God, bless you richly as you embark on today’s leg of your life’s journey!

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