Mercy for All (07-09-20)
Bible Reading: Luke 17:11-19
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled 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 mercy 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 whole."
We recently had two of our grandchildren to stay for a couple of days, which was both an absolute joy, and also very tiring; not least because Zachary, aged just two, was standing up in cot shouting ‘get up, get up’ at five o’clock on the first morning and six o’clock on the second. Like many other grandparents, we ended up with both grandchildren in our bed, reading stories, until a more realistic time to ‘get up’.
When Jesus was travelling to Jerusalem, through the border country between Samaria and Galilee, he was met by ten lepers; men living on the very margins of this marginal community. They called out to him ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’, and he healed them by telling them to go and present themselves to the priests, who had authority to confirm their healing and allow them back into the community. Luke tells us that, as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy and one of them, realizing he was healed, turned back and fell at Jesus’ feet. To him Jesus said, ‘Rise and go, your faith has made you well’.
God is a God of mercy and he will always respond when we call out to him, even if, like the lepers, we feel like we are outcasts living on the margins. There are no outcasts and no margins in Jesus’ ministry. But, having called out for mercy, we must get on with what he tells us to do. The lepers were cleansed as they went, not as they waited. Most of what God will achieve in our lives he will achieve while we get on with what he has told us to do, not while we hang around for the right circumstances. Christian discipleship is about learning on the job, not in the classroom.
And then let us remember, like the one leper, to come to Jesus in worship and grow in our relationship with him and with our Christian brothers and sisters, and not like the other nine who took Jesus’ mercy for granted and continued on their way.
Thank you Jesus that, to you, no one is an outcast, and that when I call to you, you hear my call, you answer me, and make me whole. Help me to live my life in gratitude and in worship of all your mercies.