The God Who is Willing

A different plan to save the world.

The God Who is Willing
Photo by Soop kim / Unsplash

There’s a story in the Gospels about a man with a skin ailment called Leprosy.

Centuries before this moment, Moses described in great detail what the people of Israel should do if someone in their midst contracted this disease. Due to its contagious nature, the diseased person would be banished from the camp to live alone, keep a disheveled appearance, cover their mouth, and shout “unclean!” to warn others of their condition.

The leper who kneels before Jesus is an outcast. The disciples likely recoiled to avoid infection. Jesus remains.

“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reaches out and touches the man, “I am willing. Be clean!”

Immediately, he is healed.

-Matthew 8

In those five words, we can find a microcosm of God’s plan to save the world through Jesus.

By the time Jesus was born, the people of Israel had been waiting hundreds of years for a savior that was promised to them by their prophets. This Son of God would be the one to rescue his people and set them free people from oppression. 

Israel was likely expecting a military general or charismatic king who would squash their enemies once and for all.

Instead, a construction worker from a poor part of town with questionable friends showed up claiming to be the answer. 

Jesus did not fit their mold.

Israel was expecting God to fix all their problems from the top down with what I would call the thunderclap approach. With one big flash of power, he would wipe out all their enemies once and for all.

But that’s not what he does. 

Rather, he becomes one of them. He teaches them and heals them of the illness in their hearts as much as their bodies because he knows the condition they are in would not be solved by a thunderclap. 

What would’ve been hard to see at the time is, the story and plan God was unfolding wasn’t just about Israel. It was about all of humanity.

Unless the deeper problems within man's heart were uprooted, the same cycle would repeat itself, just with different people groups on top depending on the cycle of history.

Case in point, Israel’s prophets lamented over the times when Israel herself became the oppressor, following the ways of Egypt and the very people God freed her from.

Without a deeper healing of the insatiable human heart, the same problems repeat.

World War 1 was meant to be the war to end all wars, yet it was shortly followed by another even bloodier war.

A thunderclap approach may have set the Israelites at that time in that place free from their oppressors, but it would do little to save the rest of humanity in all times and places from the oppression of their real enemies (who aren’t people at all).

God refused to throw a big blanket of his will over the whole world and call that peace. That is what tyrants do. He is not a tyrant.

He is not merely the God who is able to heal his people; he is the God who is willing to--even if that meant joining them in their sorrowful state.

He was willing to become one of his own, 
to suffer what they suffered,
to be tempted by what they were tempted by,
to know what it was like to be human.

He refused to decide for us or bulldoze over people’s free wills but instead came as a teacher to convince us that he could heal and save us if we let him. 

Jesus is the king who came to live with his people. We are not his lowly subjects he wishes to impose his will upon. We are invited to be his partners in renewing the world to a place of peace, beauty, light, and truth. And this is good news.