Jesus tells Martha that she will see the glory of God if she believes. Then Jesus prays, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Afterward Jesus cries into the tomb, “Lazarus, come forth!” When Lazarus came out of the tomb, “many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.”
The Passover was near and the Jews “spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, ’What do you think – that He will not come to the feast?’ Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.”
On Jesus’ way to Jerusalem, ten outcast lepers cry out to Him, “‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.” The lepers are healed by grace through faith, which is evidenced in their obedience of going to the priests who could not naturally heal lepers. The priests are to examine the lepers and offer sacrifices on their behalf in order to pronounce them as clean according to the Law of a Moses – “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field’” (Leviticus 14:1-7).
This is a beautiful picture of what Jesus is about to do on behalf of unclean sinners. He is going to lay down His life, shedding His innocent blood as the final sacrificial Lamb so that we may be washed clean and given new life under the blood of Christ. One of the lepers healed by Jesus was overwhelmed with gratitude for the cleansing and new life that was given to him. So he, a Samaritan, came back to Jesus “and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.” The Samaritan did not take for granted the grace shown to him like the other nine healed lepers. So Jesus responds to this man’s show of gratitude by saying, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
We end the reading with Jesus explaining the coming kingdom of God to the Pharisees. He says that first the Son of Man “must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation”, speaking of His imminent crucifixion on the cross. However, Jesus explains that He is coming back one day. And when He comes again, it will be like in the days of Noah and the flood and the days of Lot and Sodom. The people will be going about their usual business with no regard for the Lord when the judgment comes.
Since the coming judgment is inevitable, we are not to be like the people of this world who are only focused on themselves and not the Lord. With the parable of the judge and the widow, Jesus urges us to be persistent in our prayers, trusting that the Lord hears and that He will act on behalf of those who love Him in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. Jesus says if an unjust judge will answer the request of a persistent widow, how much more do you think a completely just God will do for the ones He loves – “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Will he find that kind of faith in you? Keep reading.
(John 11:38-57, Luke 17:11-18:8)