As we read through Luke 17, last week we learned that genuineness of faith is important and that we deserve no special merit from God. This week we learn more of this. In the gospel, Jesus does not tell the lepers they are cured but asks them to have faith and act as if they have been cured by showing themselves to the priests. “And as they went, they were made clean.”
Similarly, in 2 Kings, Naaman, who thought he did deserve merit and respect, is encouraged to exercise faith and wash in the Jordan. The care, concern and faith of those deemed of little merit, the captive girl and servants, is instructive. Naaman’s obedience brings conviction of faith. Psalm 111 confirms that faith (fear of the Lord) is coupled with acting accordingly and yields a good understanding.
Gratitude often springs from the feeling that we have been given more than we merited, just as the leper expresses gratitude for his healing, showing humility by prostrating himself before Jesus.
The theme of suffering also continues this week. Paul writes to Timothy that if our faith is genuine then we are not ashamed of it, even if we have to suffer for our beliefs. We serve a risen Lord and those whom Christ is saving.
Genuine faith endures suffering in hope, so Jeremiah encourages the exiles in Babylon to move forward in their lives by settling down, even taking up gardening! Psalm 66 speaks of heavy burdens imposed by enemies but of God giving refreshment.
Prayerfully reflect on your faith journey with gratitude and thanks – share with someone when your faith has been tested, and how God continues to bring hope and strength through the Holy Spirit.
with love and prayers