Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Saturday, 8 October 2016
"Your Faith has saved you."
The term leprosy in the new testament, actually referred to any visible skin condition a person might have, including leprosy. People with these conditions were greatly feared as contagious. Anyone showing signs would be quarantined and forced to live in colonies apart from the community. They were required to announce themselves as unclean to anyone with whom they crossed paths. Their living conditions were appalling and a painful death awaited them.
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
The text does not indicate exactly what they might have been hoping to get from Jesus. Perhaps they were hoping Jesus might be able to persuade the authorities to let them have better access to the resources of the community to improve their desperate lives. What they received was unimaginable.
"The Birth of Faith"
And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Faith is the act of ENTRUSTING one's self into the hands of Jesus. Those with true faith live with the certainty that no matter what may come against them in life they are secure in God's providence. God will see them through. People who think of themselves as self sufficient, having control of all that they need for a full and happy life, may see little purpose for faith in their life. That is why Jesus said that it is hard for the wealthy to find their way to the Kingdom. The poor have little blocking their view.
While poverty regarding the things of this earth may begin our understanding of what it is to be poor, "poverty of spirit" is where the full meaning of poverty known. The human spirit that lives not in communion with God through faith but relies solely on itself, is in the most retched of all conditions.
"Rich In Mercy"Those who pursue a life of prayer quickly realize how highly contagious are the sinful values of the world, corrupting the human spirit like a leprous condition. Only when we are willing to examine ourselves in the light of the gospel will we come to realize how retched our condition has become - then we too will cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on me.” Each new day, through prayer and the pursuit of the spiritual life, our condition is restored to wholeness again.
“Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
In Leviticus Chapter 13 we read . . . “When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a shiny spot on their skin that may be a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest. The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease." . . . . . The priest is to examine that person, and if the rash has spread in the skin, he shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease."Today, skin diseases are well understood medical conditions. Doctors have replaced priest as examiners and they prescribe appropriate healing remedies.
But the dreaded condition of moral corruption continues to require careful examination and discernment. The Prayer of Examine now replaces Leviticus Chapter 13. but the urgency for its use remains.