Luke 5: While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”  And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.  And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”  But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.  But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
“If you will, you can make me clean”.
What a statement of faith this is. Some will tell us that we do not need to pray “if it is your will” when it comes to healing, because it is always God’s will to heal. They believe that what Jesus said to this man is a general statement to all people everywhere for all time. It’s just bad Bible interpretation. There is nothing here in this account that says that it is always God’s will to heal all people if they ask. The final victory over death is not yet, and probably not for awhile.
But what can we learn from this account of Jesus healing this man? More than we will say right here, but note at least this:
1) This is precisely how we ought to approach Jesus when we want something from Him. “If you will”. This is what Jesus told us to pray when He gave the Lord’s Prayer. “Your will be done …”. James tells us that we should not even presume to say that we will be in a certain place tomorrow, because we don’t even know if we will live to see tomorrow. Instead, James says, say “if the Lord wills …” (James 4:13-15).
2) The man knows that the issue is not one of power. Even believers today give themselves too much credit for what they can accomplish on their own outside of the power of God. Jesus told Pilate that all his power, including the power to put Him to death, was from above. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). He does everything after the council of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). We need a conscious, grateful, awe inspiring understanding that we are not called by God and sent by God because He needs us. He does not. He can do everything He commands us to do – and do it better. The reason He chooses to use ordinary jars of clay is so that He will be glorified (II Corinthians 4:7).
3) The man knows that it is OK to approach Jesus and make his wishes known. It is never wrong to ask for anything that does not contradict the Scriptures. God may, at times, say “no” to our requests. But He will never say “Don’t bother me, I have no time for you.” Never. We have a high priest who was tempted in every way yet never sinned so we therefore can go the throne of grace with boldness and make our requests known and find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need. And should he say “no”, He will provide the grace to go on without the thing that we had asked (II Corinthians 12:6-10). What a Saviour.