12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. Lk 17:12-19
“strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat. 7:14)
Only one man saw something different. One man out of ten. That is how difficult it is to see the things of the Spirit.
It is not written, but the sight of the lepers standing “afar off” must have shattered Jesus’ heart into a thousand pieces. The compassion that this Man had knew no bounds. And when they begged Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”, knowing He had the power to do what they asked Him to, He couldn’t have been more glad to oblige.
“Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” He spoke casually; but He was excited, for He knew the profound miracle that would befall them along the way.
“And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.” (v.14)
Jesus was happy at their cleansing; yet nothing could send Jesus’s heart pounding harder than what happened next. Scripture tells us:
“15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.”
The fact that scripture states that this man “turned back” indicates that he did not wait to arrive at the priests’ office. He had no more need of that. He had met God! And having met God, he became alive in his spirit.
The other men went rejoicing, of course. Not that they were thankless, no. They were very happy and thankful. But where, pray, do you think they went? To the priests, of course. They were going to show the physical miracle that had been done for them. These men saw nothing besides the miracle that was done for their bodies.
But their compatriot turned back and came and worshiped the living God. Bye, bye priests!
This man saw something the others did not. As they say, what you see is what you get. For that reason, therefore, Jesus told the man,
“… thy faith hath made thee whole.” (v.19)
We can finally perceive what true faith is. It is seeing into the Spirit. Jesus was now not talking about physical wholeness. That had already been accomplished. Here Jesus was talking about spiritual wholeness. This is the greatest gift a man can receive from God.
When we see God, we get done with the law! Our spirits become alive!! We are free men and women. That means we can worship God in truth and in the Spirit, for the life of God resides in us.
We ought to endeavour to go for the life of God. Christ’s life in us. The Apostle Paul wrote,
“22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified… 24 Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:22-24)
Paul and those who worked with him did miracles, but they distanced themselves from the miracle ‘ministry’ and the wisdom seekers. They sought after the life of God in them instead.
“… and he was a Samaritan.”
Wow. This man was not a Jew. Jesus called him a “stranger”.
The people in greatest danger of not receiving the life of Christ are, sadly, those of us who claim to be saved. The problem is, we tend to think in terms of entitlement. For this reason we take the grace of God in vain. But forget about all the rights you think you have in Christ. God’s Kingdom is for those who do not think anything of themselves. That is why Jesus told the Jews:
“If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (Jn. 9:41)
Imagine that. Jesus told them it were far better if they had been blind!
The Apostle Paul said,
“I be nothing” (2 Cor. 12:11)
That was Paul’s perspective of himself.
Recently, I was drawn to read about an American preacher who wears $4,000 shoes. Y’know, just shoes. In America they call them celebrity preachers. I wondered what a man who wears $4,000 shoes thinks of himself.
But what does the healing of our spirits do for us?
We become men and women of grace, for the life of Christ works in us. In 1 Cor. 15:45, the Bible says:
“… the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
The last Adam, Jesus, was a life-giving Spirit. That is what we become when our hearts are touched and changed by the Master.
[A mother and her child arriving home in the evening]