Luke tells the story in the 17th chapter of his gospel about ten men who had leprosy. In those days, leprosy was not only a disfiguring and painful disease, it was also a mark on the person’s life that was treated not with medicine or compassion but with disdain. It led to alienation and separation from others.
Luke describes these men as calling out to Jesus, “Master, have pity on us!” They had to call from a distance. Because they were considered “unclean” they were forbidden to come close. Jesus sent them away saying, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were healed. One of the ten came back and threw himself at the feet of Jesus, thanking him. He was not a fellow countryman with Jesus; he was an outcast Samaritan. But the other nine did not return to give thanks. The Jesus explained to the man, rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (V 19)
Maybe where you’re sitting today makes this a difficult story. The man’s faith made him well. It cured him of a disabling disease. Perhaps you’re thinking, “What about my faith? Why does healing not come to me?” We all need healing. Some of us seek healing from physical pain. Others seek to be emotionally well. Some experience relationship scars that are still painful to bear even after the passing of many years. (Time does NOT heal all wounds.) Some of us need to be healed of the feeling that we have no worth or purpose. If we were to be healed from any of these disabling conditions, surely we’d give thanks, right? Surely, our lives would be completely transformed and we’d rush to tell others, right?
The truth is, there is a healing that we may have forgotten. It happened so long ago, that we take it for granted. We were sick with the compulsion to follow our own selfish ways, sick from choosing sin over virtue, a type of death over really living. So we came to Jesus and asked forgiveness. And he made us well, completely well. He cleansed us, healed us, and made us new. If you received nothing else in life – not fame, nor fortune, nor friends, nor physical healing from pain and suffering, nor other “favors” – wouldn’t this spiritual healing and restoration to fellowship with God still lead you to give endless thanks every single day?
We’ve been healed in a miraculous way. Once disfigured by our self-isolation from God, we have now been cleansed and restored into his joy. We’re reminded that nothing can separate us now from his love; not pain, nor poverty, nor loneliness, or depression, not grief, nor a lowly position in life. We’ve been healed from ourselves and are no longer separated from God. He makes us literally new creations. Your faith has made you well in a sense that you may have forgotten.
Give thanks and live well!