How can you and I become so stirred that we lose all our inhibitions when we express our affection to the Lord? How can we stir God’s heart when we come to Him with our prayers and our praise?
In Luke 17:11-19, we read of one man who truly connected with Jesus Christ. Would you please take a couple minutes to read it?
Leprosy was a disease that many Jews believed was inflicted for the punishment of certain sins and a mark of God’s displeasure. Therefore Christ, who came to take away sin and turn away wrath, went out of His way to cleanse lepers. Of these ten lepers one stands out and brings a smile to the face of Jesus. What can we learn from him?
You can touch the Lord when you ask Him (Luke 17:11-13).
These ten shared a common fate—they were all social outcasts who brought comfort to each other by being together. They were so filled with a sense of urgency, that they did not allow Jesus to rest when He entered the village. They did not want to risk losing an opportunity to receive healing from this man they had heard about. Keeping their distance, which was required of them by law, they shouted to be heard.
Jesus was not put off by their rudeness or appeals. All ten lepers brought a degree of pleasure to Jesus as they came to Him with their needs. You are invited to come to Him today, asking for Him to intervene in your life. When was the last time you came humbly before Him, believing that He is keenly interested in you?
You can touch the Lord when you obey Him (Luke 17:14).
Jesus could have instantly healed them of their leprosy right then and there. Instead, He gave them instructions before they could be made whole. Only the Lord knows why these instructions were given. Perhaps He wanted to test their faith and obedience. Or perhaps He wanted the priests to see the lepers healed and discover their healer. Whatever the reason, Jesus recognized the spiritual order of authority in the priesthood and their role as health inspectors. When these lepers received a clean bill of health from the priests, they would be free to re-enter society and live normally.
All ten of the lepers were willing to follow Jesus’ instructions to show themselves to the priests (thus verifying their healing). They could have stood toe to toe with Jesus, refusing to receive healing His way. We can credit them for submitting to the will of this rabbi whom they had heard about. Obeying Jesus secured their healing and is an inspiration to us. However, this is only what is required of those who come to God. Asking and obeying are great, but in this case only one response truly warmed God’s heart.
Yes, you and I can get things from God. He wants to bless us as we come to Him with our needs. But is getting stuff from God what it’s all about?
You can touch the Lord when you thank Him (Luke 17:15-19).
It is this last act that set the one leper apart from the other nine. He had not only been an outcast because of his disease, but also because of his ethnic origin. Lepers were relegated to the outskirts of towns and cities where they would not bother the general population. The Jews despised the Samaritans, looking down on them as impure products of intermarriage with Jewish and Assyrian nations.
This one leper cast aside what little pride he had left to thank and praise Jesus with reckless abandon. There is no dignified way to show affection wholeheartedly. Such an attitude of faith not only made him well physically, but made him well spiritually.
It appears that nine of the lepers were more enamored with their healing than with their healer. What they enjoyed in this world as a result of God’s help, was more appealing to them than the God who helped them in the first place.
The Bible says that God is love. How can you give love to the One who is love? William Law (1686-1761) in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life concludes:
Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms, or is more eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God who wills everything that God willeth, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.
How do you suppose God feels when He gives us so much to be thankful for, yet we simply go on our merry way without returning to give thanks? The next time you feel down and discouraged, try compiling a list of items for which you are thankful.
You can give love to the One who is love.