<< Luke XVII: The Last Journey to Jerusalem: Healing, Teaching >>
AFTER the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead the chief priests and Pharisees plotted once more against Him. Before when they would have stoned Him, He went away beyond Jordan. Now he went with His disciples to a city called Ephraim. It was perhaps a little town some fifteen miles from Jerusalem to the northeast. But it may have been further away, or even beyond Jordan. The spring came and the Passover season, and the Lord journeyed again towards Jerusalem through the country east of Jordan. We learn of many things that the Lord said and did on this last journey to Jerusalem. Read first of the healing of lepers by the way. You remember Ihe disease of leprosy in which the skin was dead, and sometimes full of sores. The lepers were not allowed to live in the towns or to come near to any one. When a leper was healed he was to be examined by a priest and to make a thankful offering to the Lord.
And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.—Luke XVII. 11-19.
Read also two parables about prayer. If an unjust judge for selfish reasons hears a prayer, how much more will the Lord hear and help His children, when He loves them so much! But in what spirit must we pray?
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.—Luke XVIII.1-14.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
Were there not ten cleansed? >> How few are grateful to the Lord; how little the gratitude of any one is compared with what it ought to be
There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger >> There is more gratitude in simple Gentile hearts, than among those who have better opportunity to know the Lord
Parable of the widow and the judge >> Not to be discouraged in prayer, nor to doubt that the Lord hears and that He will help. He may seem to delay to answer, but it is to bring the one who prayed into the best state to be helped
“Behold, I come quickly,” >> The Lord does not act in time but in eternity, so “quickly” corresponds to “surely”
Parable of the Pharisee and publican >> The rich and poor in spirit
Pharisee >> Self-righteousness, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven
Publican >> Humility and repentance, the poor in spirit shall enter the kingdom of heaven
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum