“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
It is early in Jesus’s ministry. He has been baptized, and he has been to the desert. He has preached in the synagogues of Galilee, and he has cured people of demons and sickness. Then, a man afflicted by leprosy approaches him, bends to his knees and says, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Has this leper heard the rumors of the healer in the nearby town? Was the name “Jesus of Nazareth” uttered over shared bread? Was it spat at him mockingly by a passerby in the street? Did he glimpse Jesus from afar, anxiously hoping?
The leper speaks with certainty of Jesus’s power to heal. Maybe even faith. “If you will it, you can make me clean.”
Cries for help are ubiquitous. Rarely are they directed so clearly to our unhearing ears. One such case: a man approaches me on the street. “Can you spare any change?”
Why was I approached? Because the man knew that if I willed it, I could “make him clean." Can I spare any change? Of course I can. What’s more, if I willed it, I could leverage all of my privilege on behalf of that man. I could treat that man like my own brother, or my own son. Instead I give him petty cash (on a good day) and he goes on his way. We each have the potential to radically change the life of another. But we don’t. Jesus did.
As members forming the Body of Christ in our present day, we are called to be as Christ to one another. We are called both to will the impossible, and to do the impossible. The question then that I constantly ask myself is this: why don’t we?
~ Nate Ross, B.S. in Biology, Class of 2021