Imagine for a minute what it would have been like to have leprosy. You were an outcast of society. You had to live away from anyone who didn’t have the disease, so either alone or in a colony with others who had leprosy. You had to yell out “unclean” if people came near you.
In today’s Scripture reading, we see Jesus entering a village, but before He could enter He encountered ten lepers. Notice it says they stood at a distance. They weren’t allowed to get near Him. And what did they do when they saw Jesus? They lifted up their voices and called Jesus “Master,” and then asked Him to have mercy on them. They knew they needed Him. They recognized the power He had to heal them.
Mercy is defined as “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” These people were in distress. These people needed compassionate treatment. These people are asking the One who they knew had the power to heal to show compassion to them. What does it say Jesus did? It says Jesus saw them.
Think about that for a minute. In a world where they are outcasts of society, Jesus saw them. He looked at them. Then He told them to go and show themselves to the priest, who was the one who could determine if they were clean or unclean. Had Jesus healed them yet? No. But what do we see the ten lepers do? We see them make their way to the priest. They believed that Jesus could heal them from their leprosy even before He did it, so they started on their way. As they were going, they were cleansed. What happened next is something we should take note of.
All ten of them were healed, all ten were now no longer outcasts, but only one went back. One looked down and saw that he was cleansed, and his immediate response was to go back and praise God with a loud voice and to fall on his face at Jesus’ feet and give Him thanks.
What about me? What about you? There’s a good chance we don’t have nor have we ever had leprosy, but we actually have something much worse. We have a sin problem that makes us “unclean” on the inside, at a heart level. But God, in His mercy, has healed us through the blood of Jesus. He has taken away the leprosy of our heart. He has cleansed us on the inside. Jesus saw us, helpless apart from Him, and He healed us. What is my response to that? Am I happy to continue going on with my life just enjoying the blessing of being cleansed, or is the response of my heart to turn to Him and worship? Do I fall on my face at His feet and give thanks? Am I like the one, or am I like the other nine?
I want to be a woman who daily comes before the Lord and worships Him for the work of healing He has done in my heart. I want to be a woman who continually gives thanks that I am no longer sin-sick. I want to be a woman whose life is characterized by a heart of worship and thanksgiving. I want to be a woman who comes back, again and again and again, falling on my face before Him in gratitude. May we all learn from the one who went back.
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