Daily Devotional - 19 August 2020
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13).
We all want to receive mercy from God, but I was challenged this morning with an idea that appears in Luke 17-18 not once, not even twice, but three times in quick succession–do we ever play the role of hindering others from receiving the mercy of God that we so desperately want for ourselves?
Lepers of Jesus’ day were considered untouchable. Once a person was diagnosed with this skin disease they were forced out of the community. They had to stay a distance from people and if others came near they were to yell the warning, “Unclean! Unclean!” They were stripped of their humanity and were treated as a threat carrying a disease that could contaminate everything they came near to. In the Gospel of Luke, we read of an occasion where Jesus was spotted by ten of these men who had joined together for support. Jesus had just entered a town and the men shouted out from a distance for Jesus’ help. They dared not come close. Jesus instructs them to show themselves to the priests and as they are on their way each is miraculously healed. Society had told them to stay away, but Jesus had healed them and made a way for them to once again regain their humanity. They had received His mercy.
A short time later, we are introduced to another group who is being refused access to Jesus. This time it is parents with their children. These parents wanted to have Jesus bless their children, but the disciples saw this a frivolous intrusion on their Master’s time and scolded them. The Messiah doesn’t have time for a bunch of kids!...or does He? Jesus sees what is happening and His disciples are soundly rebuked, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (Luke 18:16-17). Jesus validates the parents’ desire, elevates the worth of children and provides a new perspective for His followers concerning who is worthy of His attention.
And the third interaction involves a blind beggar. Jesus is traveling to Jericho with a large enough retinue that it gets this blind beggar’s attention. When he discovers that it’s Jesus, he calls out to Him, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (18:38). Others, attempting to listen to Jesus, tell the man in no uncertain terms, “Be quiet!” Their desire to hear was more highly valued than this man’s desire for help. But rather than being cowed, he shouts all the louder. When Jesus hears him, he stops and orders that the man be brought to him. If it had been left up to the crowd–those that were following Jesus–this man would have never met Jesus despite his having just passed by. Jesus intentionally makes these others bring the man to Him in order to demonstrate His great mercy–the man is healed and receives his sight.
In each of these three cases, it was Jesus’ followers who proved to be the greatest barriers to others’ access to Jesus. While the crowds and disciples feared the lepers, had no time for children and were impatient with the blind beggar’s intrusion, Jesus responds very differently. As current disciples of Jesus, do we notice those around us looking for a touch from the Saviour or have we, too, become overly focused on having Jesus meet our needs? Are we guilty of turning a blind eye and even refusing access to the One who wants us to extend His mercy to others? Something to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us...
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!