February 16 - The Willingness of God

By Melvin Eugene Surface

Devotional Scripture: Mark 1:41–42

Central Thought: Jesus is able and more than willing to meet your need.

    'I believe God can, but will He help me?” A lot of people grapple with the question of the leper in today's reading. He came to Jesus convinced of His power, but the leper did not know Jesus' mercy. He worshiped Jesus and declared '…you can make me clean.” As honest as he was bold, though, he prefaced his faith with, 'If you will.”

    Jesus settled the question with more than words. He touched the leper! Moved with pity, Jesus said, 'I will; be clean,” and the leprosy vanished! Jesus told the leper to confirm his healing quietly with the priest and to offer as proof the sacrifices for cleansing prescribed in the Law of Moses. Instead, he spread the word and created such a stir that Jesus could no longer enter freely into the villages. Thanks to the leper—despite his ill-timed zeal—we don't need to qualify our confidence in God with doubt about His will. Jesus proved it is His purpose and His nature to heal.

    Simon's mother-in-law was sick when Jesus came into the house. When they told Jesus about her need, He took her hand, lifted her up, banished the fever, and returned her to service. By nightfall the sick and demon-oppressed of the city gathered at the door, seeking relief. Jesus healed many of them and cast out demons. The next day He took His message and miracles to other towns.

    Jesus can heal. He can deliver from evil powers. He even can forgive sins and make people right with God. And He is willing to do so. In Capernaum, four men literally raised the roof to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He forgave the paralytic's sins. (How awesome! Their faith brought him a saving encounter with Christ and an opportunity to believe for himself.) Bystanders were shocked that a man would claim such power. Only God can forgive sins. So, Jesus showed His authority to forgive and to heal the sin-sick by commanding the paralytic to pick up his bed and go home. The paralyzed man claimed both forgiveness and healing as he leaped to his feet, grabbed his bed, and walked.

    No wonder they exclaimed, 'We never saw anything like this!” They saw that Jesus could and would heal and forgive.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, I believe that You can, and I thank You that You will, help me with all my needs today.

Today's Bible Reading: Leviticus 1:1–3:17; Mark 1:29–2:12; Psalm 35:17–28; Proverbs 9:13–18