“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.” Luke 17:12-13
The ten lepers meeting Jesus is a parity of our times. Ten men struggled with incurable issues and hopeless futures. Without divine intervention, their future was bleak. Like these men, our lives need divine intervention. Our plight is complex, and life is threatening. Our concern is that only God can restore what we have lost.
Desperation motivated the men to seek the Lord in time of need. Under normal circumstances, the same men might have passed by without notice of Jesus. Their plight nurtured an openness for hope of a miracle. They needed relief. Maybe, you need a miracle. Are you barely existing in the hope of relief? You may feel so desperate you seek the Lord in prayer. You may not know Him well, but you suspect He has answers no one else offers.
While standing at a distance the men petitioned the Lord for mercy. They did not desire what they deserved. They dreamed of unmerited favor. His command was to show themselves to the priests. This was an act of faith that life would be restored. Maybe you are trying to show faith. You read your Bible. You pray. You even go to care for others. You assume that obedience will bring the blessing. For a moment, you have become dedicated to living God’s way.
Then, the miracle happened. They were given a second chance. They found relief. Hope was restored. Freedom was found. Their lives were given back to them. Something happened only God could do. The miracle was universal, but their response was varied. Nine lepers went on their way. One returned to Jesus giving the Lord thanks for what He had done. Nine found relief. One found the Lord.
The question we should consider is, “Why does Jesus perform miracles?” One might say miracles prove who He is. That is true. Others might say miracles encourage others in the faith. That is true also. But a key impact of miracles is to call us closer to Jesus. More than giving relief, Jesus wanted to build an intimate relationship with us.
The real challenge we face is not finding relief but learning the lesson. The Lord wants to be more than a spiritual vending machine where we find our desires met. Jesus wants to be our Shepherd, our Lord, our purpose in life, our all-consuming focus. The Lord wants to be the love of our life.
Jesus was amazed that only one returned to express thanks. If Jesus was to eliminate COVID, unify our nation, restore jobs, create world peace, and heal our families, what would you do?
More than relief, we need a deeper relationship with the Lord. In the story of the ten lepers, the real miracle was not the healing of the nine but the new-found faith of the one who came to Jesus to celebrate. As you seek God’s mercy, draw closer to the merciful Savior you seek. He is the greatest miracle!