Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Luke 17:11-19

Luke 17:11-19
And He went out in His departure into Jerusalem and He was passing through in the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  And entering some town, ten leprous men met Him.  They stood from afar.  And they took up a voice, saying, “Master Jesus, have mercy upon us.”  And after looking, He said to them, “After departing, show yourselves to the priests.  And it became – in their departure – they were being cleansed.  And one out of them, seeing that he was being healed, returned with a great voice glorifying God.  And he fell upon his face near His feet while giving thanks to Him.  And he was a Samaritan.  Answering, Jesus said, “Were not ten being cleansed?  Where are the nine?  Were they not being found after returning to give glory to God except for this foreigner?”  And He said to Him, “After getting up, leave.  Your faith has saved you.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Let’s look at this passage through a very social angle.  Ten lepers are there, and they call to Jesus from afar.  They don’t want to contaminate Him or His disciples.  They know the rules.  Lepers were commanded to stay in colonies apart from the rest of the world.  However, I think that this lifestyle infected them in more ways than the leprosy.  After they are healed, they still don’t seek community from Jesus.  They kept their distance from Jesus when they were sick, why wouldn’t they keep their distance when they were healed?  There is a lesson in here.  When we intentionally keep our distance, we may find ourselves hurting our ability to make meaningful relationship as well.  Relationship is made through contact and shared life together.

Where do you have relationship?  Where are you more like the lepers, standing from afar and unwilling to join in community?

Second Thought:

Now, let’s look at this from a legal perspective.  Notice that Jesus supports the Law.  He commands them to go to the priests and give evidence of their healing.  That is what the Hebrew Law indicated them to do.  The lepers go away and presumably do so.  But that’s part of the problem.  When we are so focused on the Law that we can’t see past it, we consider the task done and move on.  These lepers were healed.  They went to the priest.  They obeyed the letter of the Law.  Feeling that they had done what was required of them, they went home and back to the lives they had abandoned.  In their obedience to the letter of the Law, they lost obedience to the spirit of the Law.  They didn’t come and give glory to God.  They didn’t praise His name.  They obeyed for obedience sake and missed out on meaningful relationship with Jesus.

When do you obey for the right reasons?  When do you obey just for the sake of having to be obedient?  What’s really the difference between genuine obedience and obedience for the sake of obedience?

Third Thought:

Finally, let’s look at this story from a heritage angle.  The Jews, who should be in relationship with God, obediently went to the priest and left it at that.  The Samaritan, whose relationship with God is in doubt from a lineage perspective, comes back and praises God while falling at the feet of Jesus.  What does this prove?  Heritage doesn’t mean much when compared to the spirit.  Lineage doesn’t mean much when compared to the spirit.  We can be from a good and blessed line, but if we aren’t interested in a relationship with the Father our blessed line really doesn’t count.  God desires relationship with us, not a genealogy.  Anyone who desires relationship with God can find.  Foreigners and strangers and people that we might judge to be outside God’s circle have every right –probably more, even - to relationship with God as those who think to justify themselves with their lineage, heritage, and upbringing.  As Jesus tells us elsewhere, it is not our appearance, our outward evidence, that makes us righteous.  What makes us righteous is Christ, and the internal influence He brings to our life.

Are you surprised to find that it is the foreigner who acts righteously in this passage?  Why do you think the Jews who were healed were able to so easily slip back into their life without even a hint at glorifying God?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 17:20-24
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