Saturday, November 27, 2010

Healed on the way

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 17:11-37

TO CHEW ON: "So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went they were cleansed." Luke 17:14

I love how Jesus healed in so many ways. He was never predictable. He never healed according to a formula.

  • He healed the centurion's servant and the Syro-Phoenecian woman's daughter from a distance (Matthew 8:13; Mark 7:25-30).
  • He took Peter's mother by the hand, and lifted her up (Mark 1:31).
  • He commanded the paralytic to get up from his stretcher and take his bed home with him (Matthew 9:6).
  • A woman with a private bleeding problem was healed as she touched Jesus' clothes (Matthew 9:20-22).
  • He told a man with a shrivelled hand to stretch it out and when he did, it was healed (Matthew 12:13).
  • He diagnosed and tackled the root of one person's problem (demon possession) and in the process healed him from being dumb and blind (Matthew 12:22).
  • For the deaf man with a speech impediment, Jesus put His fingers in the man's ears, spit and touched the man's tongue, looked up to heaven, "...sighed and said...'Be opened.'" Then the man could hear and speak plainly (Mark 7:32-35).
  • And in our story today, He healed ten lepers "as they went."

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture. It's as if Jesus was discouraging people from putting faith in a method. Rather, they were to put faith in Him.

Besides illustrating another mode of healing, this incident gives us other insights into divine healing:

1. Miraculous healings can be progressive.
As a sidebar article in my Bible explains: "...not all healing is at the moment of prayer. Instant healings are often expected whereas this illustrates the healing 'in process' over a period of time following prayer" - New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1422.

2. Visiting the doctor doesn't mean we doubt what God has done.
Jesus told these lepers to show themselves to the priests, whose job it was to declare them clean (Leviticus 13:1-59). The priests were the doctors in that culture. Jesus here supports getting outside confirmation of a miraculous healing.

3. Giving credit to God and thanking Him should be our response.
Isn't it interesting that the one leper to return to thank Jesus was a foreigner. My Bible's footnote about this detail says, "Perhaps the others, who were Jews, felt that healing was their due, since they were of the chosen race" - NHSLB, p. 1422. But we know there are no entitlements because of race or lineage in God's kingdom, and no grounds to take any of God's grace gifts (like healing) for granted.

Does someone in your life need healing today? Maybe it's you. Be encouraged if you have prayed but your healing hasn't yet happened. You may still be healed as you continue on your way.

PRAYER: Dear God, I grapple with the fact that there are dear ones for whom I pray, and they are not healed. I have pledged that as long as there is breath, I will pray on. I know You can heal them in earth-time if that is Your plan. If not, I know they will be whole in eternity. Amen.

MORE: The story depicted in art

One of my favourite Bible illustrators is James Tissot (French 1836-1902). Here is his painting inspired by this story.

The Healing of Ten Lepers - by James Tissot

The Brooklyn Museum houses many of Tissot's works. From October 2009 to January 2010 they ran an exhibition of his paintings on the Life of Christ. View a sampling here.

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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