Necessary Boldness

A Necessary Boldness

“When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.' Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 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.’” Matthew 8:1-4 (NASB).

Sometimes the needs of a person will necessitate a boldness to be displayed. It is often a boldness that they did not realize they even had. In the verses mentioned in this post, we see a man who, despite his physical conditions, as difficult as they were, suddenly finds courage to do something society and disease previously presented him from doing.

Let’s set the stage. Jesus has just spent hours, perhaps even a few days, teaching hundreds, if not thousands on a mountain side in Judea. His teaching was not like the majority of the religious leaders of His day, but was filled with both compassion and authority. In fact, it was so appealing and powerful that many of the people who heard His teaching now began following Him.

Suddenly, there stands before the Son of God a man who should have avoided Jesus and the people with Him. Now, we do not know if this man had heard anything about Jesus or not, for Matthew is silent about whether some word of Jesus’ ministry has prompted this courageous confrontation. Yet we will discover by reading the Gospels that many people with critical, desperate needs sought out the One Who so consistently demonstrated the power of God to heal and bless.

Here are just a few more examples of “necessary boldness” - Jairus, the leader of the synagogue who had a daughter who was dying (Luke 8:40-56); the Roman Centurion who sent word with a request for healing for his dying servant (Luke 8:5-13); a non-Jewish woman from Syrophoenician had a child that was tormented by a demon (Matthew 15:21-28). Each of these found a “necessary boldness.”

And so this man with leprosy, a disease that should have kept him absent from any contact with society, now comes to Jesus and, bowing in worship, makes his seemingly impossible request.

And the Good Shepherd grants him first an interview, and then answers with an open display of healing compassion.

Let's look at their conversation.

“‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

The One whose very touch meant redemption and restoration touches one who was forbidden by the Law to be touched! Jesus, for whatever reason, hears something in this outcast’s voice, and causes a “necessary boldness” to be lovingly demonstrated is such a powerful way.

And Matthew will borrow a word that the Gospel writer Mark will use again and again: “immediately.” Flesh that was horribly contaminated now is pure.

But there is something crucial here in this display of "necessary boldness” that we need to see and understand. The very first time a person asks Jesus to do the will of His Heavenly Father, there is no debate, doubt, hesitancy or denial. I have been searching the Scriptures with some degree of persistence, and I have not yet found a place where, in respect to healing and wholeness, Jesus used the phrase, “Father, if it be Your will.”

Now, I realize that this is quite a declaration, so I invite you to also “search the Scriptures” to see if this might be true. For as I read through just Matthew alone, as part of the Bible reading plan I’m using, I feel certainly that more displays of Jehovah-Rapha’s (this is the Name that God told the Hebrews to call Him - “The Lord Your Healer”) mercy will appear.

Obviously, there are some serious questions that my statement generates. Lord willing, I will do my best to address them in the next few posts. But for today, as I invited you to do yesterday, just pray about what I have written.

We will seek for further evidence of the healing ministry of Jesus.

Blessings and prayers,
Gene Wilkins

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