Encounters with Jesus
Comments 5

Miracles of Jesus: The Ten Lepers… “It takes more faith to give our lives to Jesus than to receive healing.”

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is  a new creature: old things are passed  away; behold, all things are become new.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)
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Luke 17:11-19
11And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

NOTES

  1. Focus on The Healer, not the healing
  2. Faith when sick is good, Faith when well is better
  3. Don’t just be healed, be Whole, be Healthy

CHORDS

In Scripture, Jesus frequently uses miracles as object lessons and here, in the Healing of the Ten Lepers, He teaches us the sometimes subtle differences between: submission and exploitation; faith and opportunism; wholeness and superficiality.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Psalm 103:2-3)

Ten lepers see Jesus passing by and plead to be healed. Jesus agrees and sends them (in accordance with Mosaic Law) to be examined by the priests. While on the way to the priests, they are healed. This is the crucial point in the story. Their responses to being healed reveal their attitudes and (spiritual) outcomes. Nine of them moved on with their lives; one returned to glorify and thank Jesus.

Jesus explained the importance of this point in verse 18, when He said: “There are not found… to give glory to God…”. The point Jesus was making is that the nine who kept going did not have the right attitude toward the miracle or towards God. When God works a miracle in our lives, the point of the miracle is to bring Glory to God: to reveal to the miracle receiver and those around him/her that God is in control of everything. And, therefore, He is to be worshipped; we must submit ourselves to Him.

…Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. ~Psalm 50:15

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. ~ Psalm 107:20-22

On the contrary, nine of the ten lepers focused on themselves rather than on God. Hence, once they received their healing, Jesus was no longer needed; no longer relevant. For them Jesus was essentially a means to an end: Jesus was exploited to accomplish a goal.

By application, we must ask ourselves:

  • “Is Jesus our Master or just a means to an end?”
  • “Am I serving God for my gain or to glorify Him?”
  • “Is my focus on my healing or The Healer”

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (John 2:11)

When Jesus is for us a tool/appliance then BOTH the rewarding and the withholding of desired gifts/miracles/blessings will drive us away from Him. In John 6, Jesus feeds five thousand men, yet it is clear (John 6:15, 26-27) that that great miracle didn’t help them to understand Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 16:21-23). They wanted him to become their earthly King, they failed to understand the redemptive work of Jesus and that He was already King. The miracle did not draw them any closer to God.

Later in the chapter (John 6:28, 30-31), the people ask Jesus to prove himself to them again. This time Jesus refused to perform a miracle (John 6:29) and instead challenged their theology. And many deserted Him. The people were not drawn closer to God whether Jesus performed a miracle or not!   To those who abandoned Him, Jesus was a means to an end. When He failed to deliver what they wanted, He became redundant, unnecessary.

On the other hand, as His disciples showed (John 6:66-69), we can only truly come to Jesus when we accept Him as Master. They didn’t understand Jesus’ theology any better than the people (John 14:1-11) and were often surprised by the miracles (John 6), but they remained because He was their Master, not a means to an end. They focused on who Jesus was not what He should do for them:

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. ~ John 6:67-69

When Jesus is our Master, we focus on how we can glorify Him, not on how He can satisfy us. This does not mean we don’t have legitimate needs, but it does mean that our relationship with Him does not depend on those needs being met. Neither does His importance/relevance begin or end when those needs are met (or not). Instead of celebrating the healing we celebrate the Healer (like the tenth leper did; verses 15-16). Instead of celebrating the blessing, we must celebrate the Blesser.

In His response to the tenth leper, vs. 19, Jesus next teaches us about faith: “…thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinth. 5:17)

In other words, ONLY, the tenth leper had enough faith to be made whole; he was not just disease-free, but sin-free! Salvation had come to his life. He now had a new heart to go along with the new skin. Clearly, the other nine lepers also had a measure of faith; they had enough faith to be cured from their leprosy. As opportunists, they, like many of us, cried out eagerly to Jesus when they were in trouble. When the trouble passed, however, Jesus was quickly forgotten as they moved on to fresh opportunities.

But Jesus shows us that that kind of opportunistic faith was not enough for their salvation. Christians tend to believe that they need more faith in order to see/experience God’s miraculous power. However, Jesus turns that notion on its head. More faith is needed for salvation, than sanitation; and only the tenth leper had enough. It takes more faith to come to Jesus when there is nothing (earthly) at stake, than to go to the priests when everything is at stake. It takes more faith to submit to Jesus when all is well, than when our very lives are in danger. It takes more faith to give our lives to Jesus than to receive healing.

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. ~Matthew 9:2-6

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Finally, Jesus makes a clear distinction between being healed and being whole/healthy. The tenth leper was the only one with enough faith for salvation and so he was not just healed, he was whole: he was healthy in body, soul and spirit. Nine of the lepers settled for being healthy in body only. Likewise, we frequently seek only material/physical miracles from God, often forgetting to seek out spiritual miracles. But His word frequently reminds us that the inner man is more important than the outer man:

But the LORD said… Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature… for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. ~ 1 Samuel 16:7

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

To accomplish the will of our Master, Jesus, we must be transformed inwardly. Being healed of leprosy in our flesh is of little consequence if we still have leprosy in our spirit. Will we cry out to Jesus for the healing of our spirit/mind as much as we cry out for the healing of our bodies and the healing of our finances? Ten went for sanitation. One returned with salvation. Ten lepers in a pew, which one are you?

CODA

  1. Is it more important for God to meet my need than for me to serve Him?
  2. When do I call out to God most? What kind of faith might I have?
  3. Is it good enough to be whole in God’s sight?
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5 Comments

  1. Jamie says

    This is a great article with relevant pictures too but I found the use of the KJV a little offputting. I think the old style language is out of date for such a contemporary article. Perhaps use the NKJV in future. Just a thought…

    • Hi Jamie,

      THANKS so much for your encouraging words and for taking the time to share your thoughts. Thank you.

      About the use of the Authorized Version of Scripture:
      RitW is not antagonistic towards more modern versions of the Bible. However, we maintain use of the Authorized Version out of caution. New “versions” of Scripture are cropping up frequently, and some of the newer versions render Scripture passages in ways that are somewhat worrisome. There seems to be a constant stream of ever newer versions that claim to be “more suitable” for the modern society, and there is a risk that suitability can subsume accuracy. In addition, in the growing crowd of newer versions on the market, it becomes ever easier for heretics to infiltrate the Body of Believers.

      For example,

      1. There is the New World Edition which seeks to denigrate the identity of Jesus (see John 1:1-3 of that version).
      2. There are also versions of the NIV that refer to God in a gender neutral manner to suit modern sensibilities.
      3. There are versions of the TEV that include the Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books
      4. Some modern versions also question and/or omit parts of the Bible, e.g., Mark 16

      The market for Bibles is so open, that (if we had the money/fame) RitW could publish its own version of the Bible as well. AND if that were so, who could verify our credentials beyond name recognition is the public square? It seems, therefore, that a conservative approach to the use of Bible versions might be a wise option.

      Finally, the Authorized Version has served many respected and proven giants of Christendom quite well. All the great revival leaders (Brainerd, Wesley, etc.) of the 18th and 19th century used the Authorized Version. 20th Century Christian leaders like Tozer, Lewis, Spurgeon, Ravenhill, Graham all used the Authorized Version as well. In the words of a popular modern proverb:

      “If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it”

      We accept that the Authorized Version may be a little disconcerting initially, for those who are unfamiliar with it, but we also maintain that it is quite easy to get used to it.

      Nevertheless, we RESPECT your position and acknowledge that they are many others that agree with you.

      Thanks again for sharing, Jamie!

      “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
      The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
      The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

    • Jamie Poch says

      Thank you so much for your speedy reply! I understand what you are saying about the NIV, TEV and N.W.E., however, I did mention the NKJV, which by all intents and purposes remains the same except for changing archaic words no longer in use.

      I read this tweet by Rick Warren just a few days ago and thought of our conversation. I have pasted it below. Arguing for scripture which serves us well would not speak well for the New Testament scriptures to be written in Greek when Hebrew had sufficed for God’s chosen people for many hundreds of years.

      Rick Warren ‏@RickWarren Some guys would rather let people go to hell than be accused of using a paraphrase of Scripture to reach them. #FearOfMan

      I would welcome your comments. Blessings Jamie

      Jamie Poch Co-minister for re:generation Methodist Church

      411 Brentwood Road Gidea Park Romford Essex RM2 6DD England, UK

      Home 01708 703557 Mobile 07854 634089

      http://www.regenerationchurch.co.uk

      From: Reflections in the WORD Reply-To: Reflections in the WORD Date: Thursday, 8 November 2012 18:16 To: Jamie Poch Subject: [New comment] Miracles of Jesus: The Ten Lepers… “It takes more faith to give our lives to Jesus than to receive healing.”

      WordPress.com reflectionsintheword commented: “Hi Jamie, THANKS so much for your encouraging words and for taking the time to share your thoughts. Thank you. About the use of the Authorized Version of Scripture: RitW is not antagonistic towards more modern versions of the Bible. However, we mainta”

    • Hi Jamie,

      Great to hear from you again!

      First let me respond regarding the NKJV. I have a NKJV copy that I use from time to time, but it does much more than just changing out a few archaic words. Indeed, the “21st Century King James Version” is closer to doing that than any version I have looked into. But i hasten to add that i am NOT an expert on Biblical translations/versions/paraphrases. (Which is perhaps my reason for exercising caution).

      Second, regarding Pastor Warren’s comment, i am in complete agreement with the sentiment he communicates. Hence, in person-to-person interactions i refrain from criticizing whichever version the other person uses. Indeed, in those situations i try to use whatever version they are using. On a more personal note, i “grew up” using the TEV. The publication/edition i used when i was younger had some great line art that i enjoyed and that helped me to remember where some treasured passages of Scripture were located. i even used it to lead Bible studies on many occasions. So, as i have said before, i am (generally) not antagonistic towards other versions of Scripture. I wish we ALL would read the Bible more, regardless of version.

      Nevertheless, over the years i have become more convinced of the accuracy of the Authorized version (AV) compared to other versions; so, while i do not try to thrust it on anyone, it seems wise to employ the version that seems to be the best whenever i have that option.

      Third, regarding comparison with the use of Greek/Hebrew (as you described in your response). I have long thought of that question, and i have no good answer. My only comment, which is not an answer to your question, is that the AV is the best English version I know and since English is the only (formal) language that i know, then the AV is my choice. Similarly, i would expect a Spanish-speaking person to use the best Spanish-language version that is available to them. Nonetheless, i take your point: if God didn’t limit the Bible to Hebrew/Greek then why would he limit it to a single English translation. Again, i do not know the answer to that question. May God guide us both in wrestling with this issue.

      Please keep me and RitW in your prayers, my Brother. And I pray God will work greatly through your ministry: may He glorify Himself through you; may many souls be drawn to your church/ministry as you lift up Jesus in your work and in your walk.

      God Bless!!!

    • Jamie Poch says

      Thanks so much for getting back with me and your prayers for our work. I respect and admire your love for the bible and I will be praying for the great work you are doing for the Kingdom. Keep up the good work! Blessings Jamie

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