October 10, 2004

Luke 17:11-19

[11] It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. [12] As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance [13] but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

[14] Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. [15] One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. [16] He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough--and he was a Samaritan.

[17] Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? [18] Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?" [19] Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."

[The Message]

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1. In this section of Luke we get example after example of faithfulness, each drawn from "the margins of acceptable socioreligious society." Here we deal with lepers at a distance calling out for mercy. It takes faith, as well as desperation, to call out for mercy. In this case mercy is the equivalent of healing that leads to reintegration into society.

2. Taking a good look at them, Jesus sees them as they may become and sends them on their way to document the healing already begun. This is strange business. Without evidence of healing and being sent on to validate it with the authorities, Jesus sent them on and they went. In so many arenas of life this seems to be the case. While war still swirls in the world and in our hearts we cry out for mercy. Without evidence that anything is different we head off to be the peace we desire. While poverty still stunts, the cry for mercy arises and without any more resources we go forward to claim a part of the "Great Enough."

If the healing had happened in the moment would all ten have given their thanks and Jesus sent them on their way? What are you going to do when you finally realize your call for mercy has been received and responded to? Will you travel on and humbly ask for more? Will you track down the source and return to it? Will your relief lead you to move on directly or will you need to circle back and put everything in order?

3. So often we get caught up in a conversation about thankfulness and giving glory and casting doubt about the character and faith of those not present. Bottom line is that Jesus says, "Move on." Let's not get stuck in good or bad places in our lives. Let's move on!

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