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.

Journey to the Manger: Shepherds

Lauren cradles our baby Jesus in her arms, imagining what it might have been like for the shepherds to see the Messiah.

Lauren cradles our baby Jesus in her arms, imagining what it might have been like for the shepherds to see the Messiah the night he was born.

Today we ran to Bethlehem with the shepherds on our Journey to the Manger.

Shepherds

Shepherds

Once they got over the shock of being face-to-face with an angel, the shepherds soaked in the amazing message of hope and the chorus of praise echoing across the fields. The Savior, the Messiah, was in Bethlehem, just a few miles from where they were, wrapped up and cradled in a manger, of all places. God had chosen them, outcast shepherds, to herald His Son’s birth. What an amazing, unprecedented honor!

The shepherds proved their trust in God Almighty. They left their livelihood resting under the night’s sky, and high-tailed it across the open fields to see with their eyes what they already believed in their hearts.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

– Luke 2:15-16

The shepherds were committed. Who knows how long they looked for Jesus, but they kept searching until they found the One the angel announced. Tonight, we searched for the baby, too. We each took turns placing a doll somewhere in our great room, and then everyone else had to come search for it.

Faith must be followed by action. The shepherds believed, and then went to worship and then share the Good News with everyone they met. This Christmas, God wants His message of hope to move us to action. He is looking for those willing to relentlessly pursue Christ, no matter the cost.

Christmas isn’t to observe from a distance. Jesus came so we could personally experience His love, and feel His embrace.

Jackson holds the baby after searching for it in our game tonight.

Jackson holds the baby after searching for it in our game tonight.

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.