He fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12).

Willing?  Jesus, are you willing to heal me?  The guy was desperate.  He was covered with leprosy–a terminal case.  His condition was hopeless.  Lepers were untouchables.  So he was ostracized.   An outcast.  Jesus was his last ditch effort.  Face in the dirt, he crushes any remnant of pride…and begs.  The plea is to the point. Just ten words. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus answers in half as many words and ignites a miracle.  “I am willing.  Be clean!”

Let’s take a minute to meditate on this short passage in a different translation:

While he was in one of the towns, Jesus came upon a man who was a mass of leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he prostrated himself before him and begged, “If you want to, Lord, you can make me clean.”

Jesus stretched out his hand, placed it on the leper, saying, “Certainly I want to. Be clean!”  (Luke 5:12, 13  J.B. Phillips).

Notice that Phillips uses the word “want” instead of “willing.”  The  word in the Greek, thelo can mean “want, will, desire,” or even “wish”  Thelo also indicates a “pressing on to action.”  Jesus not only wanted to and was willing to heal the guy. He executed.  Without hesitation.

The leper’s plea can be considered a prayer.   The word, “beg,” or deomai, describes a specific, urgent prayer.  The answer came swiftly.  His desperate cry for healing was consistent with the will of God for that man in that moment.  Alignment with God’s will is a vital component of prayer, as Jesus taught His disciples in”The Lord’s Prayer:”

Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).

In the original language, this prayer is more of a demand than a request .  It is better translated:  “Kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as in heaven!”  God’s will is done perfectly in heaven–so heaven becomes the model for our earthly prayers. It’s as if Jesus wants us to shake our fist and shout a bit as we claim God’s will to be done on an earth still crawling with enemies.

My short answer on how to know God’s will is this: Read His Word.  Saturate your heart daily. Grow so close to your Good Shepherd that you know His will, obey His will, pray His will.  This is called abiding and is the secret to a power-filled prayer life.  Are you willing?


4 responses to “willing?

  • karen g

    Love your posts, so very inspiring.I am so willing and life is so challenging right now, I am desperate for good focused prayer and saturation of God’s Word I want to soak it up and meditate and learn it and just can’t seem to come up with a plan. I am all over the place, looking for direction. I struggle to even get a prayer out some days. Please share with me some direction, guide my steps if you will, I am willing and feel stuck!
    karen g

  • jesusandthebible

    When Jesus touches and heals the leper, he knows this is God’s will. Yet Lev. 13:45-46 says a leper must avoid others and warn anyone who approaches him that he is unclean. And anyone who touches human uncleanness is guilty of sin (Lev. 5:3,5). So Jesus surpasses these laws (of Moses) by touching the unclean leper and telling him he is willing (to heal).

    In contrast, the scribes (rabbis) and Pharisees are not willing to listen to Jesus because he says God’s will is now different from some of God’s (former) Word (and from many of their traditions) for the kingdom of Israel. Jesus is teaching a new kingdom–with him as king–a kingdom of disciples who are willing to focus on Jesus’ Father, the one in the heavens, rather than the ruling fathers of Israel.

    Thus Jesus’ prayer (for his disciples to pray) is about these imperatives: it is your name (as Father) that should be revered (by disciples, rather than revering the ruling fathers); it is your kingdom that should come (as disciples seek first your kingdom, rather than the kingdom of Israel, or other kingdoms of earth); it is your will that should be done, on earth (by disciples who will make new disciples among all the nations, teaching them to do everything Jesus commanded, as in Mt. 28:19-20).

  • marilynnchadwick

    Thanks for taking the time to post such thorough comments about Jesus and the complete overhaul grace was to the system of law and traditions…the former things. You’ve given us a good challenge about Jesus and his kingdom imperatives. Blessings!

  • marilynnchadwick

    Praying for you at this moment, that God would breathe a fresh wind of encouragement into your willing heart. Not to promote my book, but I spent a lot of hours coming up with just what you described. A plan. It includes a simple format for prayer and Bible Study and can be purchased through Amazon. If you’re in Charlotte, we have it at the Forest Hill bookstore (through which we direct all proceeds to Mission India). If you don’t want to take the time to read a book, email me and I will send you a link to a 21-Day Experiment in John’s Gospel that some have found helpful. Press on, friend. Hebrews 11:6 promises that the Lord will reward you as you diligently seek Him! Blessings, Marilynn

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