For all they knew, it could have been a fool’s errand. They had come to the merciful Master for healing and now He tells them to go to the hard-hearted clerics for inspection. No touch of His hand. No declaration from His lips, “Be clean!” No change in the condition of their skin. Just His instruction to these ten lepers, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
But go they did. Unsure of what they would show the priests. With no indicator, other than the implication of the Master’s command, that they would have something other than their defiled, diseased skin to display to those versed in judging uncleanness. How many went with any level of conviction of faith, and how many fell in line because everyone else was doing it, we don’t know. But here’s what we do know:
And as they went they were cleansed.
(Luke 17:14b ESV)
That’s what caught my attention this morning. It’s “while they were going” (CSB) that they were made new. “While they were still on their way” (MSG) that healing came. That “it came to pass, in their going,” (YLT) that they encountered a life-changing dynamic.
These ten lepers were healed in the act of obedience. Something about, “He said it, so I’ll do it,” that released the power of heaven on earth. Something about going without fully knowing that ended up changing their lives forever.
And in my own cleansing process, in my own sanctification, how much of it comes about as a result of my going? What miracles occur when I venture out while still uncertain of how I might be received? What power is unleashed when, having not yet seen the full fruit of His transforming work, I faithfully present myself as a follower of Christ just because He told me too?
That’s what I’m chewing on. How much of our healing happens just because we do what Jesus tells us to do? Whether we feel the touch of His hand, or not? Whether we’ve seen the change in our lives that we think we should see, or not? How much of becoming what Jesus redeemed us to become is a result of being what Jesus has asked us to be? Regardless of whether we think we’re ready or not. Despite the fear that we might be on a fool’s errand.
But you can’t read of the going of the ten without also chewing a bit on the coming back of the one.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. . . . And [Jesus] said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
(Luke 17:15-16, 19 ESV)
The nine went and experienced the outwardly transforming power of God. But one, a Samaritan leper–considered unclean not only on the outside but on the inside as well–returned and also experienced the inwardly transforming praise of God.
“Your faith has made you well.”
Nine met the Master, only one marveled. Nine went, but only one worshiped.
And the healing for that one was far beyond just being skin deep. It penetrated to soul and spirit. Not only was he now fit to stand before a mere priest among men, but the depth of his cleansing qualified him to enter the presence of God Himself. The Father delighting in this adopted son’s praise. Watching intently as His only begotten Son was exalted through this blood-bought servant’s worship.
What work of God occurs in us through our going and though our coming?
What work of the Spirit is accomplished through our testing and our thanksgiving? Through our obedience and our worship?
More than we realize, I’m guessing.
But all by His grace. And only for His glory.