Mercy

They found each other, these ten lepers.
They had no one else. Their families had turned them out; they had to. It was only right. Their villages had sent them away; they had to. And now they had found each other; they had to, as well.

They drifted from garbage heap to garbage heap finding only rags to wear and scraps to eat. When the wind was right, their collective odor announced their approach and people scattered before them. When the wind blew the other way, they would often catch people unaware, the people fled before them, like a beaten army before a conquering foe and always with the cry, “Unclean! Unclean!”

The sight of healthy people running from this rag-tag mob was ironic. The lepers had no strength; they were practically starving. There weren’t even enough fingers and toes, and hands and feet to go around. There was no cure except to keep it away and pity the poor ones who had it. It was only right.

So, they had each other and that was it. This was the life they lived: human refuse, a moving trash heap.

“He saw them…”
But, somewhere along the way they heard about a man who did not run from lepers. He was coming their way. As He approached, they stood at the appropriate distance.

“Jesus, have mercy on us.”

Jesus looked at the ten, seeing them, not their disease. He saw

  • wives without husbands, homes without fathers, and important work that was not being done. He saw
  • men whose dreams had crumbled within them as their bodies crumbled on the outside and He saw
  • helplessness and despair.

“…he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests.
And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.”

This man told them what to do— to the priests. There was a ritual, a Word from God for them. God had not forgotten them. He had a plan. Something in His words, in His eyes, in Him, told them to obey. They ran as well as rags and bandages and makeshift crutches would allow.

As they went, something began to happen.

  • Crippled feet began to tingle and burn with new growth as toes sprouted where stumps had been.
  • Fingers and hands and whole arms began to swing in the wind as strength returned.
  • Their rhythm-less running became smooth and effortless like Greek gods in a race.
  • They began to strip away rags they no longer needed or deserved.

Nine of them ran on to the village but one stopped and looked back to Jesus. If Jesus hadn’t met them on the road their lives would never have changed. Slowly, this man who was one in ten, a Samaritan, realized that before he ran to meet his future, there was something else he had to do. He fell at Jesus’ feet giving thanks. He had asked for mercy and found it.

It was only right.

Jesus was touched with the thanksgiving of this one. But He wondered about the others.

“Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

The man did not know where they had gone; home most likely. Ironically, their disease had made them a community and healing had separated them. Jesus smiled at the thankful one, seeing in him those who would someday return to give thanks when the other great disease of mankind was cured.

It is only right.

Scriptures:
Luke: 17:11-19

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are my healer, my deliverer! You found me in the fellowship of the diseased and despised and took away the leprosy of my sin. You restored the withered limbs, rescued my wounded mind, and revived my fainting heart. I give You thanks today. May I never miss an opportunity to honor You whether others do or not! I will walk today in the health and strength You provide. When others inquire as to my strength, I will tell them of You! Thank You, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Give Thanks
Words and Music: Don Moen

Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.

And now, let the weak say, “I am strong.”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
because of what the Lord has done for us!
And now, let the weak say, “I am strong.”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
because of what the Lord has done for us!
Give thanks. Give thanks.

Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His Son.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “July 19, 2018 “Mercy”

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