Imagine the scene. Jesus has been going from city to city throughout Galilee, teaching crowds of people. Suddenly, from the back of one such crowd, there is a commotion. There are shouts of surprise and disgust as the people surge apart and give way before a hooded figure. Mutterings of “Dirty leper!” move through the crowd. As the people move back, giving the afflicted figure a wide berth, Jesus stands His ground. Instead of hatred or fear, an expression of compassion crosses His features. The leper comes forward and makes his request. The leper came and fell upon his face. He took a position of worship (Matthew’s account says that he worshiped Jesus). It is popular among certain Christian circles to teach that you need to claim you healing and that, if you have enough faith, you will be healed. This man had faith. But his faith did not negate the Lordship of the healer. The issue to him was not whether Jesus COULD heal, but whether He WOULD heal. This man’s leprosy gave him the gift of insight. He saw in a short time that which would take Peter several years to see. He saw that Jesus was the Christ. Abraham Lincoln told a story of how he was plowing a field when his brother happened by and noticed that there was a horsefly on the flank of the mule, biting him. The brother reached out and flicked off the horsefly. Lincoln asked, “What did you do that for? That horsefly was the only thing making this mule go.”
Sometimes it takes the bite of a horsefly to make a mule go. And sometimes it takes the bite of affliction to bring us to God.