“ In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” – Luke 5:12-13.
Jesus was a master at turning casual conversations into life-changing moments.
In the accounts of the meetings Jesus had with various people we can see that whatever the person’s background, beliefs, personality, and issues, they were immediately and individually known and understood by Jesus. Often it is the reply of Jesus that allows us some insight into the nature of the person’s heart. He perceived the underlying condition of every person often more clearly even than the individual themselves. We see that when Jesus interacts with people he is utterly faithful, truthful, and consistent with them. He probes their inner-most condition and deals with it head-on. Jesus knew how to meet people where they were and move the conversation toward spiritual things. How did He do it? How did He take the most mundane moments and make them defining moments?
Look at the discussion between Jesus and the leper (Luke 5:12-15). This man was suffering from the disease of leprosy. Luke’s account in chapter 5 even tells us that the man had an “advanced case of leprosy.” So we are not talking about a mild case here. This man, as we read above, would have been a social outcast with no hope in sight. And though he was meant to keep himself separate from others, he sees in Jesus his one and only chance of being clean. So with his hands shaking, but hope stirring in his heart, he approaches Jesus.
The Leper did not actually ask Jesus to make him clean, only stating his belief that Jesus could do so if He so desired: “…if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” (Luke 5:12).
This is where every conversation begins. Someone has to start talking. This may be the most difficult hurdle to jump over when it comes to conversations. It is easier to sit in silence, read a book, scroll through your phone, put in your earbuds, roll up your window, look the other way, or do just about anything but talk.
Jesus is not afraid to approach this leper, nor does He act as if this condition is in any way hopeless and incurable. We read that Jesus reached out His hand and touched the leper saying, “I am willing,”… “Be healed!” and instantly the leper was made clean. Jesus tells the leper to tell no one but go to the priest and offer that which the law required for healing. Our days are full of conversation. Some of these conversations are with strangers and close friends, in coffee shops or at work, over a meal, or on the phone. Some conversations are fleeting, passing by in a moment, whereas others hold weight. Words matter. Conversations matter, and they hold the potential to change a whole day, or, in some cases, a life. Jesus had many life-changing conversations with His disciples, with the men and women He encountered, and with the leaders of His time. Each of these conversations was intentional, crucial, and life-changing. While those conversations happened thousands of years ago, they have the power to change our lives today. His words hold weight and hold the potential to change our lives – to even change eternities.
- What can we learn from the brief conversation between Jesus and the leper?
- Is listening to others—really listening—easy for you? What steps can you take today to improve your listening skills?
- Why is listening such an important part of godly communication?