11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
There can be so much to unpack within the story of Jesus’ healing of the ten lepers. But today, I am thinking of Jesus’ parting words, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Now we must wonder about a previous verse from Luke 17:17, “…Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
Jesus, what about the other nine? I want to ask Jesus, were they really healed? I wonder about those nine. I want to know what happened to them. Did they believe that Jesus healed them or did they just think something else happened? Could they really have forgotten to say thank you for something as important, as miraculous as this? Perhaps this moment is just so Jesus can point out the obvious in his particular rhetorical style: Where are the rest? Then Jesus tells us, because sometimes -just like the disciples- we really do miss the point.
Perhaps, Jesus knew that by pointing out this particular healing, what he was really saying is that there is another side to healing that we often ignore.
Oh, how often might we pray for someone’s physical healing? But if healing doesn’t happen in the way that we think it should, might we miss that there may be healing on a whole other level?
As a healed man falls at Jesus’ feet thanking him, we know that scripture tells us about a miraculous change that has just happened. However by commenting on this man’s faith, what Jesus is really announcing is that there has been a change in this man’s heart, one we cannot necessarily see. Here is one man’s personal witness and thanksgiving. It is found through the miraculous healing of his heart -turned toward finding a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Healing, like Christianity, is often misunderstood. First, when physical healing does not happen as we think it should, maybe people blame God, or themselves for a lack of faith. Secondly, the God we know does not punish people by refusing to heal them, but instead helps us to endure, loving us through our hardships. How have you known healing in your life or through what you have witnessed? How have you known about Jesus’ healing touch on someone’s heart?
Prayer: Great Healer, you know our hearts and minds. Thank you for all the ways that you heal. Thank you for loving us through our heartaches. When we hurt, help us to turn to you so that through it all, we might know a new relationship through your Son, Jesus. Amen.