Luke 17:11-19 - On the way to Jerusalem He (Jesus) 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." When He saw them He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." 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."
"Well, they're not wrong."
Every time I hear this phrase it makes me laugh. It's a kind of an understatement, isn't it? It means they, the lepers, technically, they were correct, but that's about the best we can say for them.
"Not wrong" applies to the nine lepers who didn't come back to Jesus. "Go and show yourselves to the priests," Jesus said. He was referring to the biblical law for people who were healed from leprosy. Before anything else, they were supposed to let the priests give them a medical going-over and then certify that they were in fact well again and free to go home. Until a priest said okay, all lepers were supposed to stay away from healthy people.
So the ten men knew what Jesus meant. And they were going—oh yes, as fast as their feet would carry them! At the end of that road was a new life—a return to home and family, a normal life with work and neighbors and worship and community—all the things they had missed for so long. So they did what Jesus told them to do—they were going to the priests. Well, they weren't wrong!
But they weren't entirely right, either. By following the letter of His command, they missed something even better—the chance to thank Him, to praise God, to show love and gratitude and happiness. Then they could have gotten back on the road to Jerusalem to see the priests. They would have been so much better than just "not wrong"—they would have been joyfully happy in Jesus' presence.
This applies to us, too, doesn't it? We can try to follow the letter of God's Law—after all, we know our catechisms, we've got the Ten Commandments memorized, we can just get on with it, right? But if that's our only focus, well, the best that can be said of us is that we're "not wrong." The heart of our lives as Christians isn't keeping the Law (as if we could ever manage it perfectly, anyway, but that's another story).
The heart of our lives is Jesus—the One who has seen us in our misery and comes to us and heals us. He is the One to whom we owe everything we are and have—the One who loves us so much He even lay down His life for us. He is the One we expect to spend all eternity with, celebrating His love and enjoying His company—yes, and that of our brothers and sisters in the faith. He is our heart and our life and our joy. May we never lose sight of Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for doing more than just healing and saving me from sin—thank You for giving me Yourself. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Can you think of a time when "not wrong" was the best thing you could say about a particular event or situation? What would have been better?
2. When have you seen someone go above and beyond the bare minimum to show grace, mercy or kindness?
3. When has God gone above and beyond to show you mercy and kindness in your daily life?
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