Monday, August 25, 2014

"Up Close And Personal"

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. Now 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 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 whole."     Luke 17:11-19
Have you ever really given this account a whole lot of thought or taken a really good look at it? Stop and think for a minute about what is happening. Jesus comes into a certain village and when He does there are ten lepers who stood afar off and lifted up their voices and said,  "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" As I was reading through this time, the words, 'who stood afar off ' jumped out at me. Now I realize that in those days it is what lepers did. They stayed a far off, kept their distance. They were forced to by the leprosy. It was they way things were and so on, but this time those words seemed to stand out, especially since while they were standing afar off they were also crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" They didn't know Him personally. They had never met Him before. They had only heard about Him and when He was off in the distance they shouted to Him and asked Him to have mercy on them and of course because of who He is, He did.

They were a far off, crying out to Him. They called Him Lord, and even used the word Master in reference to Him in their desire to receive mercy from Him. Leprosy is often used in scripture as a type or symbol of sin, and of sinners and isn't that what we do? Cry out to Him from afar off. Sin separates us from God. It, like leprosy, forces us to cry out from a far off. We know this to be true because when Jesus was on the cross and became sin for us the Father was forced to turn away and Jesus Himself was heard to cry out, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken Me?" We like the lepers, because of our sins cry out to Him. We call Him, Lord, and even Master and like with the lepers he sees us and responds with the mercy we desire! He forgives us our sins and makes a way for us. He then tells us to, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel..." Mark 16:15 or "Go and do like wise." Luke 10:37 or what about, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." Luke 7:50

So as we look back at our account we see that after He saw them and told them to, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." and they like us, obeyed His instructions. It says that, 'And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.' They took Him at His word and went off to do what He had told them to do and as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. As they went they became 100% leprosy free! No longer would they have to remain at a distance crying out, "Unclean, Unclean." everywhere they went.

It then tells us, 'Now 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 thanks.' One out of ten realized what had happened! One out of ten came to that place, that moment, when he realized that he was healed and he immediately turned back and returned to the source of the healing, the mercy. One out of ten lepers went from crying afar off to an up close and personal encounter. A personal encounter that had him not only glorifying God with a loud voice but at the feet of Jesus giving thanks for the mercy that he had received. One out of ten lepers wasn't content with just receiving but instead went to a place of worshiping at His feet.

All ten cried out for mercy. All ten received and were cleansed but only one returned to worship at His feet and only one was made whole.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17 All mankind can cry out to Jesus from afar and receive forgiveness for our sins. 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 It is why He came. But how many of us will truly realized what He has done, get up close and personal, and worship at His feet?

All were cleansed. Only the one who took time to worship at His feet and was made whole! A far off or at His feet? Where will you spend your time? According to Luke 10:42 Jesus said, "It is the 'one thing' needed and it is a choice we get to make! ..."But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her..." From afar or up close and personal - we make that choice.

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