Whenever Jesus healed people, he gave them a part to play in the miracle. This morning, I read the story of the ten lepers calling out to Jesus for mercy. The Bible says Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest, but he didn’t tell them why. As they were on their way to do what he said, they were made clean, whole, healed!
What a beautiful reminder. Whatever healing we’re in need of, we participate in the process. There is a stepping out in faith, reaching out to God, some action that has to take place.
I was thinking about this as I drove to work and asked God why. Why did Jesus do things that way? Why have us do something in order for the healing to happen instead of just healing us. He certainly doesn’t need our help. He could’ve told the blind man who begged for him to stop and not pass by, “So you’re blind? Well, now you can see.” But instead he made mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes, then told him to go wash in the pool. When the man did what Jesus said, he was healed. Jesus could’ve said to the man with the withered hand, “Hey, look at your hand it’s all better now.” But, he said to the man, “reach out your hand.” When the man reached out, his hand was healed.
When we obey and do something God has told us to do to be healed it proves our faith. Then, when God helps us and we experience healing, it strengthens our faith.
In response to my “why?” question, I heard God tell me, “It’s because I’m relational. Rather than just do something to you, I want to do something with you.”
What a lovely thought. God is not a wish granter, machine-like and cold, but is a Father who takes personal interest in me, in you, and wants to be involved with us. It’s as if He says, “Let’s work out this healing together. I’ll provide the power, you provide the faith.”
I wonder if His heart is warmed when we willingly reach back to Him, if He cannot wait to do His part and help us, even surprise us with more than we hoped for.
I think even when we have little strength or are battle-worn, the slightest look up or leaning into God is enough. He has always said he doesn’t look at outward appearances but at our hearts. He wants to heal us.
I see this interaction in the greatest offer of healing. Jesus laid down His life, died for our sins and rose again. He stands, arms outstretched towards us, saying, “I can heal your relationship with God, repair the brokenness in your soul, and make you whole. Reach out your hand, your heart.”
We can trust Him. We should do what He says. He’s so ready to do His part.
It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” (Luke 17:11-19 MSG)