At some point, all of us feel like outsiders.
We don’t speak the language, get the jokes, or know the inside story.
We’re invisible to people, and, if we let ourselves get low enough, we may even seem invisible to Jesus. But He sees us, accepts us, and he heals us!
The account of the 10 lepers in Luke 17 is a great picture of physical healing from leprosy, yes! But it also shows us the power of Jesus to free us from isolation, both from Himself and from others. Let’s use this account to look at the role of we each have in our own healing:
1. Cry Out to Him in Faith!
As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
All 10 of these men knew Jesus would heal them if they could just get His attention. Legally, they had to maintain a huge distance from Him and others because of the contagion of their disease. But even from far away, they shouted their worship of Him and their request to Him.
God is not deaf. The gospels do mention some quiet people who receive miracles, but there is something about raising your voice that moves the hand of God.
2. Act on Jesus’ Word.
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”[b] And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
The lepers knew if they would be allowed to approach anyone again, according to Jewish law, a priest would have to examine and verify that they were clean. So as they went, they were healed. Their wounds and causes for isolation were erased, and Jesus has erased ours, too! As you respond to the words of Jesus and act like they’re true, you’ll be restored to good fellowship with God and His people.
3. Thank and Praise Him.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan….And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
The other nine lepers were eager to obey the law and show themselves to the priest. That’s fine. But how much better it is to be eager to express worship and gratitude to the true High Priest. Even though the lepers were noticeably clean, the law said they still had to stand far away from Jesus and everyone else until the priest said they were okay. Yet that one leper approached anyway. He fell at Jesus’ feet, risking punishment of death by stoning. In so doing, this one thankful leper went beyond being cleansed. He was made whole.
Notice that it was a Samaritan who showed the most gratitude. He was an outsider to proper Jewish teaching and seen as inferior. It’s often those of us who know we don’t deserve God’s grace who are able to receive the most from Him. When we stop thinking we earned anything, we’ll accept with gratitude all that Jesus freely gives us, and we’ll never want to go back.
So Jesus saw the immense faith of the Samaritan. Will He see ours? Will we approach Jesus to give Him thanks? Jesus has already forgiven our sin, yet daily thanks and praise will erase the scars that remain. God’s plan is for there to be no sign we ever had leprosy. What mercy!
4. Stop Being a Stranger.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:13-18
Congratulations, Insider! Anyone who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus– anyone whose sin has been erased by His blood– anyone can be near to Him now. God made the first move with you, so respond with daily fellowship and closeness to Him. And being close to Him must mean we’re close to each other. Be like Him, and make the first move in fellowship with others. You no longer have a contagious disease; you have contagious healing.
So don’t stop with just being clean. Let’s draw near to Him and each other and be whole.