Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Samaritan...

Reflections: The psalmist reminds us of God’s strength and to reflect on His transcendence. His holiness is reflected in Creation, as the clouds and darkness surround him and fire goes before Him. The earth trembles before Him, and the mountains melt like wax before the Lord. And then He revealed Himself to people and they gave Him His due glory.

The Israelites saw the greatness of the Lord, as they came into the Promised Land and God gave them everything just the way He had promised. As they were obedient to Him through His servant Joshua, everything God had predicted had come to pass. We see the detail in the allotment of the land to each tribe of Israel, and also the Levites who served in the temple. The detail with which each allotment was preserved in writing would be a testimony to the faithfulness of God for all the future generations to see (and us too!)

As we move to the Gospel lesson, we are told of another healing of Jesus. This time he healed ten lepers. We knew what a bad deal it was to be a leper in those days. They were the outcasts of the society, as people feared that if they came in contact with them they would get the disease. When they came into a public setting they would have to yell out, “Unclean!” So when we hear of this story of Jesus’ healing 10 of them, one would think that that the gratitude they would have would be unspeakable. But ironically the only one that comes back to give thanks and praise God is a Samaritan.

The Samaritans were thought to be half-breeds because after the separation of the 12 tribes into the Northern Kingdom, they intermarried with non-Jewish (aka Gentiles) people. Because they were not purely Jewish, they were looked down up as foreigners. But Jesus says it was the Samaritan whose faith recognized where the miracle came from and hence made him well.

The question for today is one of gratitude. Do you take time to thank God for all the blessings He has given you through Christ? Although most of us aren’t lepers, we have all have contracted the sin disease. Jesus has met us on the road of life and offered us His life as healing and salvation from our sickness that separates us from God. Paul reminds us that our lives should be ones characterized by joy, as we remember God’s great act of intervention for us by sending a Savior. Just as the Jews needed to be reminded of the blessing of the Promised Land and how God did everything He said He would, God has done everything He said He would do in providing a Savior whose healing would bring us eternal life. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Psalm 97:1-6
1 The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.

Joshua 21:9-45
41 The towns of the Levites in the territory held by the Israelites were forty-eight in all, together with their pasturelands. 42 Each of these towns had pasturelands surrounding it; this was true for all these towns. 43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Luke 17:11-19
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones. Isaiah 49:13

Paul wrote: I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. 2 Corinthians 2:3

It may not feel like Christmas outside, heavenly Father, but we remember with joy that you have given us the gift of salvation through your Son. We give you thanks and praise. Amen.

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