Jesus met a lot of people on his travels. In chapter 8, we read of the woman with the issue of blood. She’s an old friend of mine, being the reason I first felt really compelled to go forward. Since then, on our journey through Luke’s gospel, we’ve come across a whole host of characters, and a variety of situations.
In chapter seventeen, though, we meet a particular group which is standing some distance from Jesus. There are ten of them, all suffering from leprosy. You might even say that they are practising social distancing.
Contrast their physical stance, however, with what they have to say. ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’, they call to him. Their illness causes them to remain separate from the great crowd that seems to attend Jesus wherever he goes. Yet, their eyes are on him, and their hearts reach out to him in faith.
I wonder how many people, in the midst of the current crisis, lifted up their voices to him. Did we – individually and collectively – ask him to have mercy on us, and to help?
Sadly, the fact is that we just don’t see God in the pandemic. All the talk has been of ‘getting though this together’ and of finding a vaccine. No mention of our sovereign Lord
Now that it seems the vaccine may be here, though, the mood has lifted immeasurably. There is talk of light at the end of the tunnel, of a way out and . . . where?
Back to ‘normal’.
That is the highest ambition of mankind right now. Let us conquer the virus so that we can go back to living as we please. We have that much in common with nine of the ten lepers. Although they asked Jesus for mercy, only one returned to thank him when their petition had been answered.
Our problem is that we treat blessings as though they are our due, and we treat hardships as something unnatural and wrong. The fact is, both are part of God’s providence for reasons only he knows. That includes Corona Virus and all the difficulties it continues to bring.
Instead of complaining that we want the ‘natural’ order of life restored, we would do well to be like that tenth leper, the Samaritan, who remembered Jesus – because Jesus had remembered him.