“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, 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 Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
“Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late- and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work.” –A.W. Tozer
It has been said that he who believes obeys, and he who obeys believes. Perhaps as startling as it may seem, prayer without obedience is powerless. We have been programmed to believe that prayer is the only answer we need, while I agree prayer is vital to the success of an individual or a collective unit of people. But if we don’t start training ourselves to be obedient to the word of God, then those prayers will be pointless.
Our text reveals to us an encounter between ten lepers and Jesus; in this scene the Bible depicts these men as being afar off. Due to their condition a gap was formed between them and God. I understand at times it seems as if God is too far away to do anything in your life. I know it seems as if sometimes your mistakes and failures have left you so wounded and battered that God can’t reach you from where you are. But some body needs to be encouraged as you read this, because the Bible says that even though they were afar off, even though there was a gap in between them and even though their scars and their wounds were evident still, Jesus looked on them. Someone needs to be reaffirmed that God still knows where you are. It doesn’t matter how bad it may look, it doesn’t matter how far you may be, it doesn’t matter how wounded, battered or beaten you might be; Jesus still knows where to look to find you!
And the Bible says that when he saw them, he gave them this command; Go show yourselves unto the priests. Now this is where I personally would’ve had problem. Show myself to the priests? Really? That’s the best you got? You brought Israel out of Egypt; You parted the Red Sea; You provided manna and Quail; You brought water out of a rock! And all you have for me right now is to go show myself to the priests? In case you didn’t realize, by going and showing myself to the priests is how I got to where I’m at in the first place. He’s the one that labeled me unclean, and excommunicated me from my family! Now you want me to go back to him? There is no way this made sense to any of them, nevertheless the Bible says they went…
I wonder what our response would be today if Jesus asked us to take that kind of leap of faith. What if Jesus called you to do something that didn’t add up, that just doesn’t make sense! What if Jesus decided the best avenue for you to take right now, is to go to a place where you’ve already been labeled and judged. Would your faith really allow you to go? Or would you allow you’re mentality to keep you bound?
Notice the power of this text, Jesus never healed them! Jesus never said he would either! All Jesus told them was to go to the priests!!
In our fast aced, drive thru world; we’ve become so impatient! We pray and if there are no fireworks then there must be no power. So we leave the church discouraged, frustrated and defeated. But I wonder how many people miss out on miracles and blessings because they failed to acknowledge the power of obedience? Sometimes Jesus may not heal you, sometimes Jesus may not deliver you, but there is always an opportunity to go to the priests! Don’t allow your wounds and your pain to keep you from the temple! The priests may just have a word that can change your life!
So these ten lepers decide to obey the words of Jesus, and they start walking. I don’t know if they walked 12 steps or 12 miles, either way the Bible says as they went, they were cleansed! As they obeyed! As they stayed faithful, as they kept worshiping, as they kept dancing they received their miracle! Somebody needs to hear these words YOUR MIRACLE IS ON THE ROAD OF YOUR OBEDIENCE!!! When it doesn’t make sense, stay faithful, when it seems like you’ve lost, keep shouting, when it seems like God doesn’t even know where your at, trust in his words!!
What a beautiful example of the mercy of God. But this blog is not so much about the miracle, the power or the obedience. The lesson I learned from this leper is found in verse 15-16. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back…and fell down on his face at his feet…and he was a Samaritan” 9 Jewish boys kept on walking, 9 church boys decided what they received on that road was good enough. They figured that since the leprosy was dried up, that they were done. This is the danger of our world; we come to God with our hands out, and we leave with a small blessing and assume that’s all God wants to give us! But 1 man, a Samaritan, decided to turn back and give God thanks! Not only did that 1 leper not become satisifed with one touch, he came back looking for more! He sought after God with more zeal after his cleansing than he did when leprosy was eating up his body!
I can understand that, I too have felt the devastation of leprosy (sin) as it ate away at everything in my life. And I can still remember the day at 16 years of age when God touched me and cleansed me of my leprosy!! What a glorious day!! But I never allowed that one altar call to satisfy me! That one experience has driven me for over 10 years now!! I’m not satisfied, I want more of Jesus than I’ve ever had in my life! Am I still a leper? No! But I still need Him!
And as that leper came back, Jesus looked down at him and told him; go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole!!! Those 9 church boys who were satisfied with what they got, will always carry the scars of their past. Every time they see their reflection they will be reminded of what they went through. And their futures still rested in the judgment of a priest! But this man, Jesus told him, your not just cleansed any longer, now ou are made completely whole! I’ve taken your future out of man’s hands, and I’m declaring it from the throne room, your past is erased, your scars are removed, the damage of your leprosy is restored like new!! your not just forgiven, your a brand new creature!!!!
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17