Jesus came to them and said

God always meets us in the in-between. That’s where life happens, shaping the hills and the valleys. Our character is formed, our calling is reinforced, and our confidence is established in the events that connect the big defining moments together.

While reading one of my favorite, and also extremely familiar passages in Scripture, God reminded me that what we may not have memorized in Scripture is still significant, even though the words may not get posted on the bulletin board.

All Scripture is God-breathed. Every single word is meaningful, because God made sure it was there.

Life begins in God’s very Word. His very breath gives us life, meaning, purpose and direction. His Words matter.

The last God-inspired words Matthew wrote in his Gospel were also some of the last words Jesus spoke on earth before He ascended into Heaven. 

Matthew captures the moment in Chapter 28:16-20.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

While reading this passage again this past week, it was the in-between words that caught my attention.

Jesus came to them and said

The disciples had come to the place Jesus had told them to go, and He showed up. In the midst of their worship and their lingering doubts, Jesus came to them and spoke life, purpose and love.

Jesus came.
Immanuel, God with us, came. He had defeated sin, death and hell, and He came back. He drew close.

Jesus came to them.
Here were the 11 disciples, going to where Jesus had told them to go. The whirlwind they had just gone through the last 40 days was unimaginable. The arrest, crucifixion, death and burial, then resurrection of the man they had followed and given their life to was like whiplash to their souls. Maybe in this moment, they were hoping for an Elijah experience, and to hop a fiery ride up to heaven with their Risen Lord. As they knelt to worship, fear and doubt crept into the corners of some of their hearts. And yet, even in their weakness of faith, Jesus came to them. He came for them.

Jesus came to them and said.
Jesus came for them to experience His presence and His purpose. The Word of God spoke. The life-giving Savior, THE Word, opened His mouth and gave them the commission, command and confidence that only The Word could.

Jesus comes to me, and to you, too. He wants us to be close to Him, and draws us near because He loves us and wants us to know Him. He wants us to hear His voice, His call, and be changed in our response.

In that context, The Great Commission resonates even more deeply.

Because Jesus has ALL authority,
I will go:
make disciples,
baptize,
teach obedience.
And, I am sure
Jesus is with me
ALWAYS.

Jesus came to them and said.

Lord, come to us, even now, and speak.

Before the healing

I’m worn out. Sick. Tired. My heart races and mind is frustrated with the events swirling to no foreseeable end. How am I supposed to know which way to turn? Truth is clouded, and I am stuck. The space between us is magnified, leaving emptiness in its wake.

This is the reality for 10 people, as their sufferings and desperation unfolds for us in Luke 17.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:11-13

Ten men with leprosy stand outside, separated, tremendously suffering. As Jesus enters the village, those men stand at a distance and begin crying out — Jesus, have mercy on us!

Jesus had come to the village for a specific purpose. But God had also brought together events, even painful circumstances, for each of these 10 men to be standing there, ready to call out for mercy to the Only One who could give it.

Jesus, have mercy on me. Jesus, have mercy on us!

He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:14‬a

Jesus looks at them. He acknowledges each one, as valuable, and worth His time and His healing power. However, in that moment, He doesn’t heal them. He gives them a command that doesn’t make sense or that gives resolution.

“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

The reason a leper would go to the priest is to receive acknowledgment and proclamation of healing. But, these 10 men aren’t healed. By law they aren’t allowed to be anywhere near those who are clean and whole. How can they present themselves for examination by the priest if their bodies are still in decay? And yet, this man they call Master, answers their cry for mercy with this command – Go.

God calls us to step forward in faith and walk as though we are healed before we are actually healed.

As Jesus speaks, He is assuring these 10 of their healing and asking them to believe Him by doing what He says. God’s promise is true before it is fulfilled.

And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:14‬b

As they go, they are healed. They receive the miracle God’s mercy has extended through the word of Jesus.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.‭‭

Luke‬ ‭17:15-16‬

All 10 lepers are healed. All of them realize they were healed. One of them comes back. The other nine continue on to the priests for the official statement of their healing. One returns to The One who had healed him.

This time, though, the former leper doesn’t stand at a distance and call out to the One who had given him mercy. He rushes to Jesus and falls at His feet.

God’s healing isn’t only about curing our sickness – it’s about eliminating the space between us and Him.

God wants us as close to Him as possible, and He will do whatever is necessary to draw us near.

How then how should we live, how do we approach a world of anxiety, chaos, lies and separation?

Call out to Jesus! Ask Him for mercy, for direction, for how to even find the path forward. 

  • God, where are You commanding us to live in Your promise before it is fulfilled – before we can see it?
  • Where are You asking us to believe You?
  • Would you teach us how to gear all of our energy, thoughts and actions through that belief?

Jesus, show us how to step forward healed, even before we actually are.