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The Problem with Jesus

The Problem with Jesus

A leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Matthew 8:2

In reading today’s story of Jesus healing the leper, it’s easy to assume that this is just the way God works. Christ, after all, healed the sick, brought the dead to life, and cast out demons. If we couple Jesus’ miracles with Paul’s teaching that we are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), it seems to follow that anyone who comes to Christ will instantly be healed of his afflictions.

To be sure, I know those for whom this extraordinary transformation has been a reality. I have a good friend who, upon placing his faith in Christ, was granted miraculous deliverance from his thirst for alcohol. His withdrawal symptoms evaporated and though he would be the first to admit that he still has other struggles, he hasn’t wanted a drink for years.

This wasn’t my experience. I felt miserable withdrawal and I still occasionally have that voice in my head that says it would be a good idea to get high. In following Christ daily though, he has gradually transformed my desires, causing me to hunger more for recovery and faith than for the pill, but this was not an all-at-once change. Honestly, I’m a little jealous of my friend’s miracle. Obedience, for me, meant going to treatment.

Maybe there was something wrong with how I asked, but I think God just had a different path for me. Miracles, by definition, are not the norm. Even though Jesus healed hundreds, there were thousands of others living at the time who weren’t healed. Even the leper eventually died of something. Not everyone experiences mind-blowing, instant deliverance from everything. Everyone suffers from something.

The problem then with Jesus’ miracles, isn’t with Jesus of course. It’s with our expectations. We see what others have, and we feel entitled. The leper didn’t approach Christ with entitlement though. He knew Jesus could heal him, but he deferred to his will. Lord, if you will, you can. We too, in our afflictions, must approach Christ with this humility. It’s not wrong to ask out of our need, but we must simultaneously force our will to bend to Christ’s.

We may get the miracle, or we may not. Either way, our response must always be obedience to God. Not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39).

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