By Mervyn Tomb
Jesus And The Lepers
Jesus knew what it was to live in a land where there was isolation. Luke 17:12-13 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance (13) and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
The idea of self isolation was not just something for this current Covid-19 Crisis. People being isolated because of a contagious disease was common in Bible times. It was required by the law of the day. Jesus was not afraid of such contagious people. He went up to such people, touched others, interacted with them, and more importantly was able to do something for them.
Jesus understands all that we are going through in our times of Isolation. The Bible speaks of how Christ understands: Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
The Crisis In Egypt
Plagues and diseases have happened before. We are familiar with the ten plagues of Egypt. Some of them brought bodily discomfort, others brought family tragedy and some brought economic collapse to the country. They served multiple purposes, with three being highlighted:
1. To bring about a deliverance of God’s people who were trapped in slavery.
2. To expose the worthlessness of the Egyptian gods – Each plague was directed at the futility of a particular god whom the Egyptians looked up to.
3. To reveal the uniqueness and greatness of God.
Exodus 9:14-16 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. (15) For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. (16) But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
One of the ongoing debates about the 10 plagues in Egypt was about how Pharaoh, a world leader in his day, refused to acknowledge the significance of God.
The world has not changed very much since then. Even today, sometimes it takes a major crisis for World leaders to acknowledge that they need God in their lives. Kourtney Kardasian, just this week tweeted from 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, (14) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
People of influence are recognizing that God has to be acknowledged, and that our lives need to conform to His standards. The Bible teaches us that we have come short of God’s standard in many ways and we live our lives in a way that is selfish and destructive to those around us, as well as being offensive to God.
In a Christopher Nolan’s film “Dunkirk” we see a troop of soldiers in May 1940 totally caught with their backs to the sea by the Germans. Their fate was inevitable. Yet some days later King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer. Photographs from that time confirm long queues of people entering places of prayer and worship. On that weekend, the decision was made to evacuate the Allied forces from their beleaguered positions. Around eight hundred boats responded to a call to cross the English Channel and rescue the troops. Sir Winston Churchill called the evacuation “the miracle of Dunkirk”, because bad weather had grounded the German Airforce and the sea was so calm, permitting a less perilous evacuation.
Christian author J.John writes: “Indeed I think Dunkirk stands as an extraordinary encouragement to pray in faith. However great our problems, God is greater than them all. That ‘Dunkirk encouragement’ to pray in times of need applies at every level of life and to every challenge, from what may be a petty domestic crisis to a national disaster.”
A Word About The Judges
The Judges were a group of people, both men and women, featuring a few unlikely heroes. They were instrumental delivering the Israelites from times of oppression in the Old Testament. They were individually called by God to help at a time of crisis. But when the crisis was over, then the people soon forgot about God, they slipped back to their old sinful habits, which in turn caused God to mercifully hear their concerns and send yet another rescuer.
In our current time of global crisis, it is indeed honourable to call on God’s help. But do remember that God wants to have a relationship with us all of the time through Jesus Christ. He does not want us to forget about him in the days of self sufficiency and only call for him in a crisis.
So as we face uncertain days, with radical limits on socialization, travel and commerce. Let us remember that God has seen it all before. This is no surprise to Him. Why not look in the Bible, you might find that the Good Old Book is more relevant than you think.
Mervyn Tomb works with The Faith Mission in the Republic of Ireland.
All Bible quotes are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2016
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