- Jesus cleanses a leper. This is the format; 1) Leper approaches Jesus and asks to be made clean, 2) Jesus heals leper. [Matthew 8.2-3]
- Jesus heals the servant of a centurion. This is the format; 1) Centurion approaches Jesus and asks for his servant to be healed, 2) Jesus heals the servant. [Matthew 8.5-13]
- Jesus heals a paralysed man. This is the format; 1) Paralytic's friends bring him to Jesus, 2) Jesus heals the paralysed man. [Matthew 9.1-7]
- Jesus heals two people; a young girl and an older woman. This is the format for the young girl; 1) Her father approaches Jesus and asks for his daughter to be brought back to life, 2) Jesus 'wakes' the daughter from her sleep. This is the format for the older woman; 1) She approaches Jesus and touches his cloak, 2) Jesus heals her. [Matthew 9.18-25]
I won't keep going on, but you get the idea. Throughout the gospels there are stories of people being healed or woken from the dead, and this is all great, but very few of the healing incidents happen in a format different to the one above; someone approaches Jesus with a plea, and only then He heals them. Could it be that the people had to make Jesus aware first because He didn't already know? Of course not, God knows all things. So why the repeated format? Why did they have to ask Jesus before they received what they asked for?
I think that a lot of the time we miss out on what God could be doing in our lives simply because we don't approach Him, instead waiting around for Him to contact us first, when in reality we need to be proactive. When we approach God - as each of these people did - we reap the benefits.
God has really been speaking to me recently about ACTIVELY pursuing Him. Deliberately spending time in His word, listening to Him, rather than just waiting for it to come about. Imagine, if all the aforementioned people had just waited to see if they bumped into Jesus. There's no point hoping and not doing anything about it. The centurion's servant would have remained ill, the man's daughter would have been 'asleep' a long time, the old woman would have continued to suffer from her illness, and the leper would have remained a leper.
Most of the time we don't think that we're in that bad a state...but why wait. In the same way that you wouldn't neglect your teeth for the next four weeks only doing so when you happened to come into contact with your toothbrush, you can't neglect God and 'hope for the best'. Plaque would build up, and slowly but surely the condition of your teeth would deteriorate. Nobody wants rotten teeth, and in the same way that you need to brush regularly to avoid them, you need to deliberately spend time with God in order to maintain a good relationship with Him.
After all the more time we spend with God, the more we get to know Him, become more like Him, and less like the world.
"I have hidden Your word in my heart,that I might not sin against you"
- Psalm 119.11