From Brittany Yeager
In Luke 17, we are given another glimpse of Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem. And while his face is set towards Jerusalem, his eyes and ears are still open to those he encounters along the way. In this particular story, he comes across ten lepers standing at a distance, lifting their voices to him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Certainly his noble and determined focus, in addition to Mosaic Law, would have given him ample reason to keep walking, to ignore their cries. Instead, he chose to see them, to hear them, to answer their cries for mercy. He opens his mouth and speaks, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” I can only imagine their confusion and questioning at Jesus’ instruction. “But, Jesus, we are still sick. Are we to show the priests our sore-covered hands, feet, faces?” Yet, they heeded his instruction and experienced their healing as they went. We go on to read about the one leper who recognizes his healing, turns back, and praises God with a loud voice. He falls on his face at Jesus’ feet and gives him thanks. It is in and through his giving of thanks that Jesus says to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
When I read this account, I can’t help but recall the psalmist’s proclamation in Psalm 50, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God.” The nine lepers’ journey to the priests was right, required, and obedient. And yet Jesus asked the returning leper, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” What was it that brought this lone leper back to Jesus, that caused him to turn and leave the nine others whom I imagine had become like family to him? Perhaps it is because in Jesus’s extension of healing, the leper realized that he was in need of much more than a cleansing of his skin—he needed the cleansing to go further, to reach into the deepest places of his heart; a merciful cleansing that only Jesus could provide.
I’m not sure where your heart is this Lenten season. Perhaps you yourself have suffered long under sickness. Perhaps your heart is heavy with grief over failed relationships, dreams, or expectations. Perhaps you feel isolated, alone, and unlovable. Or perhaps you, like me, find yourself in an unwanted season of waiting. Wherever we are, I pray that we would have confidence to cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” And through our crying out, I pray the Lord would open our eyes to see the depth of healing that he gives. And through our seeing, I pray God would grant us grateful hearts that long to turn back, praise God with loud voices, and fall on our faces at Jesus’ feet in thanksgiving. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
I am wife to Jon, mother to Ellie, daughter, sister, and friend. I enjoy heart-to-hearts over coffee, asking thoughtful questions, sharing a yummy meal, and singing good music.