Today, Jesus manifests himself not just as one who came to do flashy deeds and heal the sick, but as one who does will that we would be made clean. When Jesus performs a miracle, there’s always something deeper he’s getting at, always something more profound that he intends to reveal. The healing of the leper reveals that Jesus is one who intends to heal us from the inside out.
“If you wish, you can make me clean.” It’s kind of a weird statement, don’t you think? On the face of it, it’s obviously true. Jesus can do anything he wishes. So it really seems to be a test of what it is that Jesus wishes to do. And in the light of continuing Epiphany, Jesus reveals that he does, indeed, wish that the leper – and all of us too – would be made clean. Notice that the leper doesn’t ask to be healed of his leprosy, although being made clean could certainly be construed to mean just that. And Jesus doesn’t say, “I do will it, you’re healed.” He says instead, “be made clean.”
I think Jesus intends for the leper, as he intends for all of us, that his sins would be forgiven, and that he would indeed be clean on the inside just as much as on the outside. This may even have been the deepest desire of the poor leper’s heart, as it certainly should be for all of us. To be made clean inside and out is certainly within the power of Jesus’ abilities, if he would just will it. And today, we don’t have to tap dance around the issue or walk on eggshells to see if Jesus wills our complete healing. We see that he certainly does, and for that Epiphany we should continue to rejoice.