"Playing by the Rules?"
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."
I really like this guy—the tenth man with leprosy, the one who came back to say "thank You" to Jesus. I think maybe it's because I have a sneaking suspicion it wouldn't have been me. What I mean is this: if Jesus told me, "Go and show yourself to the priests," I would be so terrified of doing something wrong and somehow losing my healing, that I would try to do everything exactly perfectly right, to the letter of the law, and I don't think I would dare come back and say "thank you" first! My heart would be wrapped up in legalism.
But this man doesn't think that way. He sees that he is healed, and his heart is overflowing with joy and thankfulness. He doesn't imagine that God is the kind of person who would steal away a blessing just because someone with good intentions made a mistake. This man is not worrying at all! He's living in the freedom and joy of someone who has received God's blessing. His heart is set free, and he behaves like a child of God.
I'm sure the other nine people went to the priests and got certified healthy and went on with their lives in peace. But they missed out on something wonderful. They missed out on the up-close-and-personal interaction that the Samaritan man had with Jesus. They never heard those words of honor, "Your faith has made you well." And they certainly didn't get used as a good example of thankfulness for the next 2,000 years!
They were thinking about themselves. If I had been there, I would've been thinking about myself—my healing, and how to keep it. I would have been worrying about the rules.
But there is more to life than the rules. There is love, and joy, and peace, and thankfulness. These are the gifts of God to His children—to all of those who understand that He loves us freely, that He has given us everything we need—even His only Son Jesus Christ, to live and to die and to rise again for our sake. Now we are not slaves, afraid of breaking all the rules. Now, because we belong to Jesus, we are free children of God. And that's something to be thankful for!
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, let my heart respond to Your heart with love and thankfulness. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you worry about following rules exactly?
2. If so, does that have an effect on your joy?
3. When have you felt most thankful and joyful to God?
Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 65-66 Romans 13
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"