FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
BEING GRATEFUL TO GOD
November 13, 2013
Today’s gospel: Luke 17:11-19
Because of the faith of the ten lepers, they were healed by Jesus. They had faith that Jesus could heal them, as “they stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, ‘Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!’” (v.12b-13). Then they had faith that indeed they would be healed, as Jesus said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” (v.14a). Lepers were outcasts in Israel. They were supposed to say, “Unclean, unclean,” whenever they walked so that people could avoid them. If ever lepers were healed, they were supposed to show themselves to the priests so that they could be checked, and if confirmed that they were no longer suffering from leprosy, they could be re-integrated by the priests into Israelite society. So in going to the priests even before they were healed, the ten lepers showed great faith in Jesus. Because of their faith, “as they were going they were cleansed.” (v. 14b).
Now here is the sad development: only one of them returned to Jesus to thank him (v.15-16a). Hey, that is putting it mildly. That one leper was profuse in “glorifying God in a loud voice” (v.15b). He did not care if he was making a scene. God had done a great thing for him, and he could do nothing but to proclaim the praises of God. Further, “he fell at the feet of Jesus” (v.16a). He recognized the divine at work. He was overwhelmed, probably laughing and crying at the same time. Kneeling at the feet of the Master, he had just become a disciple.
The ten lepers met Christ (v.12a). It was a personal life-changing encounter. The ten lepers got to know Christ and his power. The one leper would begin to live Christ, as he fell at the feet of Jesus, thereby in effect acknowledging him as Savior and Lord. And unknowingly, he was already starting to share Christ, as he glorified God in a loud voice.
Jesus then said, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (v.19). Because he called on Jesus and sought his mercy, because he had faith, he was saved, that is, he was restored–to fullness of health, to fullness of re-integration among the people of God, to fullness of new life in the Lord. And now he is commissioned: go.
Now, brethren, the ten lepers are you (all of us). We were lost in sin, we were estranged from the people of God, but because of Jesus calling and restoring us, we were healed, and our lives have totally changed.
But a radical change is not the case with all those who meet Jesus. Some later turn away from him. Some even turn against him. Some do not take him all that seriously in living their lives. Some have him only as a passenger in the car rather than the driver. Some do not share their faith in him with others.
Some, when they are in dire need like the ten lepers, raise their voice to God (v.13a). But when they receive what they ask for, unlike the one leper, they no longer raise their voices to God, they do not glorify God in a loud voice (v.15b). Some just take what God gives and then walk away.
What a disappointment that would be to Jesus. Jesus knows he has more to give. The restoration and the healing are just the start. There is still the fullness of life in him. One who meets and gets to know him, one who is overwhelmed with gratitude by his works in us, should start to live his way of life and evangelize in his name.
Ten lepers met Jesus and experienced his power. But only one came to faith in him, and thus was sent by him. You have met Christ, but are you really living Christ, and are you sharing Christ? If not, your so-called faith will be devoid of works and wonders.
I hope you will not be among those of whom Jesus will say, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?” (v.17)
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