“When he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. Right away a man with a serious skin disease came up and knelt before Him, saying, ‘Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean’” (8:1,2). If you are willing! My goodness, our God is willing! Throughout the Old Testament, he was willing. He reached out to Israel all day long, year after year. Jesus went from town to town doing good. Always, he was willing to help those who asked him! The only thing that kept Israel from receiving God’s blessing was her stubborn refusal. The only thing that kept the scribes and Pharisees from receiving life was their hardness and sin. The only thing that keeps us from receiving from God’s hand is our own stubborn refusal to go to him: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2).
How did Jesus respond to the centurion? “I will . . .” (8:7). And he was willing time and time again: “Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd” (9:35,36). What a wonderful Savior we have!
Sinners Jesus will receive:
Sound this word of grace to all
Who the heav’nly pathway leave,
All who linger, all who fall.
Sing it o’er and o’er again:
Christ receiveth sinful men.
Make the message clear and plain:
Christ receiveth sinful men. --Erdmann Neumeister (1718)