Luke 17:11-19 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 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. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Nine got a healing, one heard the blessing of “wholeness” or “wellness” being spoken and affirmed over him by Christ Himself. I can only speculate about the other nine as we are not told anything more about them, however in my experience both personally and as a pastor it is possible for a person to be blessed, healed, set free by God but still not to walk in wholeness as a human being.
When it comes to the deep things from which people need to be set free , I would say they are things that are even deeper than health issues, deeper than social issues though of course a compassionate Christ cares about such things and asks us as His body to bring His help and healing into such situations. Remember that Jesus tells us that it is even possible to experience deliverance from demonic power and yet to end up in a worse state than before. There is something deeper in the heart of man that we need to be rescued from than sickness or demonic attack. Miracles in those realms are miracles, a sign that the Kingdom of God is near, but they do not necessarily mean the person helped is interested in the food, the help of Christ, by which they could become alive with eternal life. The easy word to use here to sum up what we need rescued from would be “sin” but what does that look like, feel like, sound like in a human being?
Well, here is another quote from that book “A Spirituality of Living” by Henri Nouwen. I suggested you buy it. It is very short and very readable. It is not “Charismatic” in its claims though it is full of the Spirit. It would not necessarily cross all the “t’s” and dot every “i” enough for some Conservative Evangelical people but it is Good News. Yesterday I quoted the best most angst free, truest to the ministry of Jesus, truest to what all our ministries should be about definitions of ministry I have ever read; I quote it here again for your convenience:
“All disciples of Jesus are called to ministry. Ministry is not, first of all, something that we do (although it calls us to do many things). Ministry is something that we have to trust. If we know we are the beloved, and if we keep forgiving those with whom we form community and celebrate their gifts, we cannot do other than minister…We have to trust that if we are the son or daughter of God power will go out from us and people will be healed… Trust in that healing power. Trust that if we are living as the beloved we will heal people whether or not we are aware of it…” (“A Spirituality of Living pages 44 – 45.)
But, back on track now: where do we and those we minister to need to find wholeness? What is at least one of the marks of wholeness in a child of God? What is one of the marks of every Christian minister who seeks to be a channel of wholeness to others? Well, here is another quote to think about:
“Healing often happens by leading people to gratitude, because the world is full of resentment. What is resentment? It is cold anger. ‘I’m angry with him I’m angry with this situation. This is not the way I want it.’… over time, there are more and more things we can be negative about. Resentment makes us cling to our failures or disappointments and complain about the losses in our lives. There is always a lurking danger that we will respond to life’s incredible pains with resentment… Jesus calls us to gratitude. He calls us to recognise that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement…the cross is the main symbol of our faith, and it invites us to find hope where we see pain and to reaffirm the resurrection where we see death. The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life…” (Pages 45 – 48.)
It is possible to be healed, delivered, forgiven, blessed, provided for and yet secretly be harbouring a resentment about the way things have been in my life. Wholeness is not pretending evil and bad things haven’t been part of my life, whether I have been the perpetrator or at the receiving end of such things: most of us have been victims at some point, all of us have been villains at some point also. Wholeness is about believing that the God of grace has brought me to this point and asks me to trust Him that everything destructive that has been is not more powerful than His love and what that love can yet bring about. It is about being freed from any resentment about the way my life has been, any resentment against other people, any resentment against God. Sometimes I look back at seasons of difficulties or sadnesses and being honest with Abba I can say to Him, “Father, I somehow would have liked if things could have been another way; if circumstances had been other than they were; if I could have behaved differently in these circumstances at that time: but I put my trust in you and in your wisdom and grace that has brought me to this point with you, today.”
Resentment is palpable: it causes life to drain away and poison the very ground on which we walk and damages those who try to walk close to us. Trust and thankfulness cause life to leak out somehow as well, but to leak out irrepressibly to bless those who walk near to us, and bless others way beyond that smaller circle. By the way, when thankfulness is awakened in somebody who as yet does not know God in Christ, it can be a powerful evangelist within them.
God bless you all my fellow believers as those who share the call of Christ to minister out of our belovedness to the immediate and to the deepest needs of the world.
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