“As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” – Luke 17:12-13
Leprosy is a disease that is mentioned throughout the Bible. It is a disease that has ravaged people for centuries. When a person becomes infected, it begins to damage the body. Over time, the skin begins to degenerate, and the body becomes disfigured. We now know what causes leprosy, and we can even cure it. During Jesus life, the only way to treat a person with leprosy was to isolate those infected. Not only were they sick, but now they faced the removal from society and everyone they loved.
The pain and seclusion experienced by those with leprosy was dreadful. It is no wonder that those ten men who were infected went looking for Jesus. When they found him, they called to Jesus, they begged for mercy. Jesus, full of mercy, healed them all. He restored their bodies and sent them back into society to be reunited with their loved ones.
This is one of the most powerful scenes in Luke’s Gospel. I find great comfort in this encounter between Jesus and these ten men. It reminds me that, even in the midst of trials, sickness, and isolation, we can go to God, filled with the knowledge that God’s actions are guided by mercy. God does not abandon us. God is with us, and God cares for us. It is God’s presence and God’s loving mercy towards us that offers us peace in difficult times and strength in the times when we are weakest.
Leprosy is not as prevalent as it once was, but sickness, isolation, and the overwhelming struggles of life are still part our everyday lives. I believe that we, as a people of faith, should look to the ten men, who in great desperation, stood before Jesus and cried out, “Have mercy on us!” Our Lord is love, full of grace and mercy! We should not be afraid to go to God in prayer. God will listen to us, and God will care for us.
– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship