The Heart Of The Healed — Obedience By Faith
Updated: Jul 11
Chan Gin Kai
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
In our last article, we saw how the Samaritan and Jewish lepers stuck with each other because they were equalised by tragedy. Indeed, it doesn’t matter how different we are from each other; all it takes is a tragedy to equalise us.
Today, we explore how the lepers’ faith in Jesus healed them.
Many mistake faith as mere belief. But faith is so much more than that.
When the 10 lepers called out to Jesus to heal them, he told them to show themselves to the priests. Now, why did Jesus do that?
According to Leviticus 13, the priests were the ones who would examine various forms of skin diseases, including leprosy. Exact instructions were given in Leviticus, which the priests would strictly follow, to examine the skin diseases of people who came to them. They had the authority to declare whether a person had fully healed. Those who hadn't recovered from their skin diseases were further quarantined (though because of the way it was cruelly practiced, these people were ostracised).
But Jesus told the lepers to go the priests, even before he healed them. He didn’t say or explain much, he simply asked them to go, and they went.
It would have taken remarkable faith for the lepers to go to the priests while they were still covered with sores and deformities. Why couldn’t Jesus heal them first before sending them to the priests? What if they reached the priests, but remain covered with sores? Would they want to go into the city and risk a jeering crowd simply because Jesus said so?
We don’t know if they had those questions, but I know I certainly would. We don’t know how far they had walked, or how near to the priests they got before they were completely cleansed. Each step must have been made in trepidation, but that didn’t stop them from putting one foot in front of the other… each step was made in faith, demonstrated through obedience.
They obeyed Jesus by faith, and that healed them.
It’s all over the Bible. Faith always results in obedience. Hebrews 11 describes many heroes in the Bible who obeyed God by faith… Noah built an ark way before the rain came… Abraham left Ur because of God’s promises… Moses led the people out of Egypt into the wilderness…Joshua led the Israelite army around the walls of Jericho. They didn’t know how it’ll work, but because they had faith in God, they obeyed what He commanded.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
If we are confident in God’s promises and commands, wouldn’t we follow what He says? What do our actions really show?
Let’s say I tell my wife that I’ve washed the dishes. She says she believes me, but goes to the sink to check if I’ve done it. I’ll feel disappointed that she claims to believe me but her actions show otherwise. Or say I tell my wife I love her, but buys her durian (which she absolutely hates) for Valentine’s Day. She’ll be understandably upset. What do my actions reflect?
We do the same to God when we claim to believe in Him but our actions show otherwise.
Faith without obedience is not faith at all. We can’t claim to believe in God but show no action. We can’t call Him our Lord yet defy His commands. Faith without obedience is an insult to God, and a religious lie.
James said as much in the second chapter of his book…
You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:20, 24, 26)
Yet it is surprising how some in Christendom separate faith from obedience through deceitful theology. They want Christ without commitment, profit without pain. The fact is, who wouldn’t want this easy way out? But we cannot twist God’s words to suit our own sinful desires.
Do we truly believe in God? Do our actions reflect our faith?
Read more about ‘The Heart Of The Healed’:
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.