Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 14-15; Luke 17:1-19
11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
How easy it is. When things in life are bad, we are quick to ask God to help. When things are good, well, not so much. Way too many of us start taking credit for what God actually did. “It wasn’t God. There’s no point in thanking God. I took care of that myself. Just like always, I picked myself up by my own bootstraps and took care of business. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It wasn’t God.”
Before long, however, we are down off the mountaintop and things aren’t going so well. Things are beyond what we can do for ourselves so we stop and pray. “Lord, I can’t handle this, I need your help. Please come and help me.” God does, we forget to be thankful, we take credit and when things go bad again… well I think you get the idea.
Things couldn’t have been much worse for those ten guys. Leprosy, the name given by those in the Biblical era for any one of a number of skin diseases. At least some of these diseases were very contagious. When someone contracted the disease they lost everything. They lost their ability to work, to make a living for their family, really they lost their ability to even support themselves. They lost their family. Think about it, would you want to infect your family with such a terrible disease? Most of us wouldn’t even consider it.
Probably what made the disease as bad as it possibly could be, by law, these men and women lived in isolation, outside towns and villages, depending on the kindness of family and friends or strangers for their survival. To cap it all off, when someone approached, the “leper” was required, by law, to shout as loud as possible, “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”
When Jesus was coming close that day, they didn’t do as the law required. They didn’t yell, “UNCLEAN UNCLEAN!” Instead, it was, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!” In other words, “Lord, I can’t handle this, I need your help. Please come and help me.” Do those words sound familiar? They should. If they don’t, read again from the top.
As they traveled back, they discovered they are cleansed, made well. Nine of them just keep moving. Over history, we have given those guys some grief for not going back. But, they were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do. But, Jesus himself is critical of their behavior. When one man, a hated Samaritan, is the only one to return, Jesus asks, “Where are the other nine?”
Could it be that the nine were saying, “It wasn’t God. There’s no point in thanking God. I took care of that myself. Just like always, I picked myself up by my own bootstraps and took care of business. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It wasn’t God.”
As for the only man to return? Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.” That could lead us to think, there is a difference between being well, and being healed. From the way I read it, I think I would rather be healed.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved