Week 2 Day 9

Luke 17:11-19

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

When pastors or others teach on this passage, the focus is typically on the need to notice what God is doing in our lives and to be thankful. This makes sense because this is, in fact, what Jesus focuses on as well. But there is another interesting aspect to this encounter.

These men were desperate for help. Because leprosy was such an awful, infectious disease (as well as ritually “unclean”), they had to approach Jesus at a distance before he entered the village. This is, in fact, where they would have lived: outside the village. They know that Jesus has the power to help them, and so they cry out to him, begging for help.

The interesting part is Jesus’ response. He directs them to go to the priests. This is what someone with leprosy or a similar disease would do after they had been healed of the disease, in order to get approval from the priests, so that they would be deemed “clean” and able to reenter public society. Jesus, however, tells them to go before anything has happened. The men, to their credit, go. They might have thought, “Well, it can’t hurt.” Regardless, they are willing to follow Jesus’ direction and take the next step without knowing what would happen. That was a good choice.

Often when we are in need, confused, hurting, or looking for some kind of direction, we are asking God to solve the situation. How do I get over this loss? Where is my next job? How do I handle this parenting crisis? God, have pity on me! But often his response will be, “Take this step.” And we think, “Why?” The step may seem odd, or we are not sure if it will lead anywhere, or if it is even from God. It may simply be a sense that we should call a certain friend, or research a website that comes to mind, or look at the devotional reading for the day. Just one small step.

When we are willing to do our best to follow God by taking one step, it will often lead to another step. And another, and another . . . “And as they went, they were cleansed.”

Reflection
What is a situation in your life right now in which you are looking to God for help of some kind? What might be one small step that he is encouraging you to take?

Prayer
Father, so often I want the entire answer at once. Help me be patient and willing to listen for your next step. Give me the courage to follow even when I am not sure where it will lead.

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