I have always stressed that, when reading Scripture, you try to imagine yourself in the narrative. For example, you are the father that has traveled many miles to seek Jesus’ miraculous intervention for his ailing son, or you are in the boat that is in danger of sinking due to the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Identifying personal involvement will bring a more appreciative understanding of the situation and its teaching. So much of our Scriptural reading is keyed to the intent of its context instead of a personal attachment. It is like reading a historical document, rather than a personal letter of involvement. Let me illustrate what I am saying by looking at the incident of the Ten Lepers recorded in Luke’s Gospel. (Luke 17:11-19)
Jesus was entering a village that was along the Samaria/Judea divide. Standing on the outskirts of the town were ten lepers. This group of men probably represented a swath of socio-economic individuals. They were thrown together by a common disease that showed no partiality to those who were affected: rich, poor, old, young, married, common workers, and the like. Friendships, as well as jobs, were lost. Their lives were altered to a physical prison of isolation. It was here in this insignificant town that Jesus would once again display His power and authority.
When this motley group of individuals saw Jesus they cried out, “Jesus, master, have mercy on us.” Jesus responded by telling them to go show themselves to the priest. WHAT?! (Here is where you enter the story, by being one of the lepers) The only time a leper would go to the priest was for verification of being healed from leprosy. How would you have responded to Jesus’ command? You still have leprosy and you are going to go to present yourself as healed to the priest! The ten men were asked to do something that made no sense. You might have said, “When Jesus heals me, then I will go to the priest, but now???” I imagine the ten men must have looked at each other in confusion as to what this all meant. Can you imagine the mental struggle that must have been going through their heads? They would look like fools, showing up with leprosy and seeking a clean bill of health, yet they were willing to respond to Jesus’ direction. (Can you feel what they might have been experiencing?)
What do you think caused them to take the first step? Simply put, it was TRUST. If Jesus told them to do this ridiculous thing, there must be a reason. They trusted that Jesus would not cause them to experience further ridicule. I wonder, do we have that same type of TRUST today? Are we willing to take Him at His word, no matter how out of sync it may be with our understanding?
The Bible states that as they were walking, they were cleansed. One of the men was so overwhelmed with his healing that he ran back to Jesus glorifying God and fell at His feet with thanksgiving. Jesus raised the question of where were the other men who were cleansed? Today, many people are quick to seek favor from God, while at the same time, timid to acknowledge their received answer. Jesus then acknowledged the Samaritan, whom he identified as a “stranger.” Jesus simply told him to arise and go his way, for his faith had made him whole. When did his faith begin? I believe it began when he started to act on Jesus’ word. I can just see him talking to himself as he walked, saying, “I Trust Him, I Trust Him…” Are you facing a difficult situation? Why not hear Jesus’ words and TRUST Him, and as you walk in obedience, it will not be long before you see the victory and, as a result, will fall to your knees with gratitude and praise. What has He told you to do? It doesn’t make sense? Just TRUST Him and start walking!