By reading through you will learn 1. Problems have a way of identifying their solutions 2. Problems can put up barriers but not to God 3. Problems cannot stop communication between the creator and his creature 4. In solving problems, showing up is key 5. Every problem can be solved but not all will be solved every single time
11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Problems have a way of identifying their solutions
How on earth did these lepers identify Jesus? There could be many theories, they have seen Jesus or heard of him before. To have heard about Jesus is more likely, because how would they have known he can heal them? Their crying out to him is an evidence that they have heard of him.
How did they identify him? This should be a question to consider seeing that in the bible times, Jesus is not the only person to walk along in the entourage of his disciples. John the Baptist also have disciples, and so also are the Pharisees and the Sadducees. If it were to be in our modern time maybe the convoy and special number plates on the expensive cars will betray who the man of the hour is, but this is not the case. Jesus did not own a special donkey not to talk of a distinguishing horse.
There may be more practical and factual explanation for how the lepers could identify Jesus, but we will not be wrong to state that problems in themselves have the longing to be solved.
They may never have considered crying out to Jesus if not for the fact that they were lepers. It is their problem that projected them on Jesus.
Problems can put up barriers but not to God
The “ten lepers stood at a distance”. In many cultures of the world, the lepers are stigmatized and often isolated. This becomes the worldview of the victims themselves that almost from the moment of discovery, they begin to hide. In the bible times and going by the tradition, getting too close can get them stoned.
Problems can and had often put up barriers between people. Some problems are so defining that they become the alias of the victim. The lepers in the story are not known by their names but by their problem and condition.
Because of their condition, there automatically exists a barrier and a distance. Because of blindness, the blind has a barrier put up against light and vision. Because of deafness, there exists a barrier to sound for the deaf. Despite the barriers that may exist due to our problems and conditions, the barriers are not high enough to put God off. The distance caused by our sickness or disability is not long or wide enough to put God away.
Problems cannot stop communication between the creator and his creature
Problems have put up barrier and have created distance, but never stopped communication between the problem and the solution. In the story of the 10 lepers there truly existed a distance but yet the lepers could cry out to Jesus. Problems may create a distance between man and man or between man and God, but it cannot stop communication.
Sin can truly hinder communication but sin cannot stop communication. Sin has hitherto put up barrier between God and His creation but it has never stopped communication. If sin or any other problem has power to stop communication we may never have been saved. Even though we have sinned, God could still hear our cry for mercy.
The communication may not be cordial and affectionate but surely we can still communicate simply because problems, the chief of which is sin cannot stop communication between the creator and his creature. This knowledge should not make us ignorant of fact that problems and challenges spurn one of two outcomes in relation to communication with the solution: 1. we either run away from God or 2. Run towards God.
In solving problems, showing up is key
After the lepers have cried out, Jesus’ only instruction for them is to “Go show”. By the definition of their problem, they are meant to “go hide”. Most of our problems are similar. They are meant to be shameful and demeaning. Tradition and our social training has taught us to “go hide” which explains why we are still living with that problem and condition whatever the name. If we are going to solve our own problems also, we need to learn to “Go show”.
Showing up is the foundational part of the problem solving process the next is to know the appropriate population before whom we must show. For the lepers it was the priest, for us it may be some other group or individuals.
The amazing part of the story is that the lepers did not eventually have to physically present before the priests for the problems to be solved but we can as well assume that nine of the lepers did go on to do so. This means that in showing up, we often will discover the solution to our own problems just by showing up.
Every problem can be solved but not all will be solved every single time
We really don’t know what motivated the returning of the Samaritan leper to show appreciation, what we can imply is that he has faith. The summary of the man’s interaction with Jesus was “your faith has healed you”.
The implication of this to us is that 3 things or actions can get us out of our problem: obedience to instructions, other people’s faith and our own faith.
It was actually obeying Jesus’ instruction to “go show” that get the lepers cleaned. But the power behind the instruction is Jesus’ faith. We know it is Jesus’ faith because his opening commendation remark was the question “Didn’t I heal ten men?” and we should ask our own question too “how did Jesus know that the ten were healed?”. Jesus knew because of his faith. He did not need anyone else to tell him so.
It is the interplay of these 3 things that will not get every problem solved all the time because people will not always obey instructions and people will not always have faith for the solution of their own problems not to talk of having faith for the solution of others. But whenever we are ready to obey and we have faith, we can solve every problem every time.