† In Jesus Name †
May the compassion of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be so revealed for you, that you hear Him as He tell you to rise up!
Jesus asks, “where are the other nine?!” and I can’t imagine hearing that without hearing some frustration in His voice, and maybe even a little pain.
Where are they?
Don’t they realize what I’ve done for them? And don’t they know that this is only the beginning?
Where are the other nine?
I don’t know how you read it any differently, though it may seem odd to hear God being pained by our inattentiveness, by our being ungrateful, by our not being aware of the incredible mercy and compassion that goes neglected.
But consider this.
God describes himself in Exodus 34 with these words,
14 You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14 (NLT)
and in Hebrews we find this,
3 So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? Hebrews 2:3 (NLT)
This is the God who weeps over Jerusalem, who compares himself to the man whose beloved wife whom he rescued from a horrible life cheats on Him.
Now can you hear the pain in his voice, as he asks, “Didn’t I heal ten? Where are the other nine?
is it enough to color between the lines?
Where are they? Why at the priest’s, showing them the healing so they confirm it. They are obeying Jesus, but isn’t that enough? Isn’t’ that the point of scripture, and the commandments, to get us to obey the commandments?
A quick illustration why it is not enough might help.
Think of a children’s coloring book – with pictures of great masterpieces in it.
Forgetting the parental requirement to love every piece of art your child or grandchild colors in; is it enough to color between the lines? Can a Van Gogh be as beautiful or a Mona Lisa look as stunning if the colors don’t make sense?
Or to use another illustration – if we stay in our lane on the freeway, does that mean we can travel as fast as we want?
Of course not!
So in this case, while listening makes sense, what they didn’t hear was that Jesus had heard them, and answered.
A quick background – these lepers were supposed to cry out when people approached, “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!” They were to warn people to not come close, their disease was not only devastating, it was contagious.
Instead, somehow this group recognized Jesus, they recognized that though he wasn’t their Lord, He was one with authority, and they called out to him have mercy, to have compassion on them. Mercy and compassion aren’t just about feelings, but love so full that it acts, it finds a way to relieve the burdens, to bring comfort and peace to lives that were broken, that were shattered.
As Jesus speaks, he offers them something they could only have dreamt of – to go and show themselves to the priests, to be declared free from the ravaged brokenness they knew, to be welcomed back into the community of the people of God.
And as they left, they were healed physically, miraculously. Bodies that were more rotting than whole, bow showed skin that was a whole and new and vibrant as any.
This was the Master that spoke, that commanded this. The Master, the one promised and sent by God. This is the Messiah, the one who would not just restore bodies, but souls. That would cleanse not just skin, but hearts and minds. Who would make them His people for eternity!
And we walked away. We neglected the salvation, we obeyed the letter of the law, and missed something more important. The Spirit, the messiah, Fellowship with God.
Even though they obeyed to the letter of the law – they missed what the law was given to do, to show them they were in fellowship with God.
Rise up! Not only healed – but saved.
There is Jesus, and we’ve just heard him ask where the other nine was, when he focuses on the man again, lying there on the ground in front of him. Who voice, which was loud when he cried for mercy, was mega loud when cried out God’s praises, when he offered great thanks – using the very word Jesus will use as he starts the last supper and gives thanks.
And what Jesus says is lost in almost every translation.
In this one it says this,
“Didn’t I heal ten men?” Then it says, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
A few others say, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19 (NASB)
But a few say it this way – reflecting the Greek, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’ Luke 17:19 (NJB)
Not just made well, not just healed, his faith, his trust in God demonstrated in the return to praise God was the trust, the dependence that saw a much greater gift given – and invitation, and the recognition that he was no longer an alien, no longer a foreigner, but a part of the people of God.
Jesus was now this man’s Lord, this man’s master. Salvation, like the healing that was for so long only a dream, this salvation was now his.
And Jesus tells him to stand, he doesn’t have to grovel, he doesn’t have to lay there in the dirt. He was made whole and saved, therefore he was welcome to stand!
If there was gratitude when he only knew the healing, can you imagine the gratitude when salvation was what was given? When eternity, in fellowship with God, given the ability to stand in His presence, to truly live life.
Can you imagine how incredible the mercy, the compassion he cried out for was revealed?
Yet that compassion, that mercy, that love, that acceptance of God is ours.
It is time to revel in it, to give thanks and praise.
And to hear, as Jesus look at the table, and considers the bread and wine, the gratitude he shows the Father, who will allow Jesus to give His body and blood for us, to save us.
For it our time to hear those words, you trust in God has saved you,,, for He has had compassion on you. AMEN!