On the way to Jerusalem…
Jesus and the disciples journey through a broad, fertile valley beside a large, flat-topped hill with steep sides. Sitting atop this hill is Samaria.
As they travel on along the border, they leave Samaria and enter Galilee and, in its lower section, encounter its streams and vast fields of greenery and colorful wildflowers.
Almost to their destination, they enter a small village. On the edge of the village, Jesus encounters ten men with leprosy, as the Law dictates they live outside the city and forbids them to draw near anyone in good health, for fear of infecting them.
The Laws requires them to stay at least 100 paces from others and always shout, “Unclean! Unclean!”
These men are the dregs of society. The outcasts. Because this disease has taken everything from them. Some losing fingers, toes, arms, noses, ears, among other parts as their flesh is eaten away by this affliction. And the stench is oppressive.
More than that, they’ve lost their loved ones and their homes and jobs. They beg, scrounge, and eat what others throw out. They live in sordid conditions in a camp or cave outside the village.
They are shunned by others. But not by Jesus. However, they stand at a distance from Him and cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Probably knowing this Man heals the sick, makes the blind to see and the deaf to hear, they call out to Him in recognition of His authority. Yet, they do not ask for healing but for mercy and compassion.
I wonder if Jesus is tired from His journey or doesn’t want the disciples getting close to the men, for He says to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
Maybe they grumbled, “Go to the priest? What for? He’s the one who pronounced us unclean!”
But this was their trial of obedience. And as they went carrying out Jesus’ command, cleansing took place.
One, who notices the healing of his body right away, reels around and goes straight back to Jesus. As loud as he can, he glorifies God and falls at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him profusely.
Jesus says, “Weren’t there ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Is nobody going to turn and praise God for what he has done, except this stranger?” *
This one? Not even a Jew. He’s a Samaritan. A separatist from the Jewish church, without the pure knowledge or worship of God. And yet, here he is. The only one giving thanks.
“Stand up! Go!” says Jesus. “Your faith, your conviction of the truth, has saved you, given you sozo-life, which has restored you and made you whole.”
Does the Lord ask of us some seemingly odd task in response to our request? But the question is: do we obey Him?
As the lepers walked in obedience, they were healed. Isn’t that how it should be for us? As sin eats away at our soul, walking out the Word of the Lord in our demonstration of faith in our trial of obedience, cleansing and healing will always take place.
And when the Lord brings some blessed answer to prayer into our life, do we praise Him? Do we fall our faces at the feet of Jesus and thank Him from a heart overflowing with gratitude?
And God says, “Where are the others? Where are My praisers?”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, praise and thanksgiving do more than we can ever imagine!
Which are we most like: the nine or the one?
Oh, Lord, restore us. Make us whole. Give us Your sozo-life. And we will praise You in all things!
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not.”
Lam. 3:22 NKJV
May your praise and thanksgiving always flow from a grateful heart…Lynn