Aug 17, 2010

Learning from Lepers

"As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him.  They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!'  Taking a good look at them, he said, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.'  They went, and while still on their way, became clean.  One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God.  He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful.  He couldn't thank him enough."
Luke 17: 11-17 Msg

I was very struck by this passage in church this past Sunday.  Our Pastor was focusing in being thankful, noting that later in the passage, the Samaritan is the only one who returned to thank Jesus.

But I was shown much more.  Did you notice the text says they kept their distance?  Yes, the rule of the time was they were seen as unclean, but I see even more.  Do you ever shout your prayers to Jesus from a distance?  How many times do we rush through our prayer list without really coming close to Jesus?  How often are do we shoot "drive by prayers", without stopping to listen or soak in the presence of the Living God?

These men also showed incredible faith.  They address Jesus as Master, showing their respect for his position and authority.  Their cry wasn't long and labored, it was a simple request that cut right to the core.  Have mercy on us.  When Jesus tells them to go to the priest, they go.  Did you catch it?  They didn't look down at their disgusting sores and open wounds to see if they had been healed already.  They didn't wait until the healing began.  They started walking to find the priest even before the healing had started or was complete.  Do I do that?  Do I make a request and move in faith, preparing and anticipating that God will hear me and answer my prayer?  Or do I stay stuck in mire, waiting without faith, stuck where I am?

My favorite part of the story is when the Samaritan realizes he has been healed.  Can't you just seem him hurrying along in excitement and anticipation, trying to find the priest, when all of a sudden he realizes he is no longer in pain?  He stops abruptly to push up his robe sleeve to see completely healed skin.  His leprosy is gone.  He turns and runs in the opposite direction, seeking to find this Jesus again, throwing himself at his feet in gratitude and thanksgiving.  I love the text says he was "glorifying God" as he ran, shouting his gratitude and praise to Him who had healed him.

I have many lessons to learn from the lepers:
  1. I need to stay close to my Lord, as to be able to have intimate conversations with him, not drive-by shouting and irreverent requests.
  2. My simple and heartfelt prayers are heard by my Savior.
  3. My faith needs to stay in motion as to not allow doubt to settle in.
  4. When my prayer has been answered, I need to stop what I am doing to praise my God.
  5. Jesus deserves my thankfulness for every good thing in my life.
  6. Don't be like the other 9 lepers who did not return to thank Jesus for their healing.
Take a few minutes today to pause before your King and offer him your thanksgiving and praise!


walkingwithangels said...

So often i sit and wait instead of walking out in faith. How faithful were this lepers whose trust was so deep and true. I need to be reminded that even when life seems hard I have a lot to be thankful for xxx

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