2010-07-08 - The Value of Grace
Luke 17:17-19 Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they? 18 "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" 19 And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well." (NASB)
Both the mercy and the grace of God toward us are priceless.
The idea that you could quantify anything close to a finite value on the gifts that have been made available to humanity, free for the asking, though the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; sent by the Father and confirmed by the Holy Spirit would be laughable at best. The value of a single time when we can intercede for a friend or ask for prayer, the moments when we rise from prayer knowing we have been forgiven are incalculable - and probably not able to be described with words. Think of prayer as an open door to talk with the God Who created the Universe, and Who loves us so much - think of it and catch a glimpse of the gift!
Ten men met Jesus on the road between Galilee and Samaria and begged for mercy. They were lepers, and therefore outcast from society. If someone approached them they were required to announce loud and clear, "Unclean!", to warn the people approaching. Leprosy is a type or picture of sin, and I dare say that the lepers where a type of those who will accept salvation. All ten were lepers just as all have sinned and come short of the glory of God - the requirement for entrance into Heaven.
The gift of healing was given to all ten. All ten were told to go and present themselves to the priests to show that they had been cleansed. All ten were healed as they walked to show themselves to the priests. They had to begin the journey and continue on trusting in faith that Jesus' words would be carried out. I'm sure their hearts raced with joy to look down and see their skin fresh and whole. A few of them may have never seen that sight in their lives.
But one of the ten on seeing that the leprosy was gone turned around "glorifying God with a loud voice" and returned to find Jesus. When Christ asked where the other nine were there was no answer. Jesus made a point of the man who returned being a Samaritan - a foreigner. The man had fallen on his face at Jesus feet in worship. Then imagine Jesus looking at you saying, "Your faith has made you well." What an amazing thing to hear!
Were the other nine ungrateful? I don't think so. I'm sure they were very thankful and went on to the priests and were indeed found to have been cleansed. There isn't much doubt that they would have identified Jesus as their healer. They were obedient to their instructions from the Master and blessed. I don't think they completely missed the value of the grace they had been shown at all.
The tenth man seems to have grasped the depth and impact to a deeper level. In his heart and mind he caught a fuller measure of the gift that had been poured out in him. Doubtless Jesus had healed many lepers. Some Jesus passed may have remained silent feeling doubting or feeling unworthy of asking. Some may have even scoffed at the stories of healings by this itinerant Rabbi. This one Samaritan reached out from his pit believing and pleaded knowing that there was nothing he could do other than that in his own strength. When the leprosy melted away on the way to see the priests he knew he had come face-to-face with the divine and been given something that beyond his ability to comprehend. His life was completely changed in a moments.
His act of faith was met by an invaluable multifaceted response of grace. His faith has made him an example to untold millions of people through the centuries.
Grace & Peace,