"I am willing"

In Weymouth's "New Testament in Modern Speech" there is a rendering of Matthew, eighth chapter, second verse, which brings home a useful lesson. Jesus had just delivered that marvelous summary of his doctrine of love known as the Sermon on the Mount. Upon his descent from the mount, or "upon descending from the hill country," as Weymouth has it, he was approached by a leper who threw himself at his feet crying, "Sir, if only you are willing you are able to cleanse me;" and Jesus putting out his hand touched him, and said, "I am willing: be cleansed." What a summing up of Jesus' attitude towards humanity was there! "I am willing"—willing that all should be blessed, that all should find their way to divine Love!

Do we find this willingness always in our hearts? Is there not often a lurking desire that someone's faults should be suffered for, or that someone's offense be made known? Are we truly "willing" that everyone should receive the benediction of the Master? It is true that benediction was never pronounced upon error; but what of the story of the woman taken in sin? Here, surely, was one who deserved to be stoned to death according to the custom of the time. Yet Jesus was "willing" that she should be saved, and that without delay or further punishment. His "Neither do I condemn thee" was a stinging rebuke to the self-righteousness of her accusers and indicated a compassionate "I am willing" attitude to the struggle for repentance that was going on within her heart. His "Go, and sin no more," surely was a recognition that her better self was gaining the mastery. Under the touch of his transfiguring love, how it must have flamed into life and strength within her!

Are we always careful that our thought should have this transfiguring touch? If we follow in our Leader's footsteps we shall express this beneficent and healing influence; for while her writings are filled with the strongest protests against evil and the injuction to denounce it in all its forms, yet how replete they are with compassion and love! Like the Master, she too was "willing" that the sinner should be cleansed; and we know that in the days when she was preaching many in the audience were healed by the truth she spoke, so great was her compassion.

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On Attending Our Lectures
December 13, 1930

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