“A man with leprosy … begged him … , ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ … ‘I am willing,’ [Jesus] said.” Mark 1:40-41
In this episode of Jesus’ ministry, Mark is showing that Jesus’ priorities are not the same as ours. People are looking all over for him, hoping to be healed. But Jesus knows that his main mission is to preach the kingdom of God. So he says, “Let us go somewhere else … so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
This may have confused Jesus’ disciples at times, and Christians today continue to be shocked by it — we understand that preaching is important, but our physical needs are so urgent. We want Jesus to meet our immediate needs first. So, like the man with leprosy, we ask Jesus for healing. We may even come to Jesus with the same sentiment: “If you want to, you can make me clean.” And Jesus does say, “I am willing.”
Jesus wants to heal. But it isn’t his top priority — his top priority is healing the sin sick soul first and letting everyone know his kingdom is coming. He has come to save the whole world! But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for us individually.
Sometimes Jesus heals us right away, and sometimes Jesus asks us to wait. Sometimes Jesus brings people alongside us in our suffering who don’t know Jesus and it becomes an opportunity for our witness about Jesus that may influence them. Although we may not always see it in the moment Jesus is always working to bring about his kingdom, where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Dear Jesus, we are in a world of pain. Only you can fix it. We long for you to heal our needs right now. Help us long even more for the healing of the world. Amen.