20080722

Ten Lepers and VBS

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, [6] who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” [7] (Luke 17 : 11-19, esv)
Last night was the second night of VBS (vacation bible school) at out church. Before I get too much into my subject I want to be up front. I am not a big fan of our current methodology. We are pushing for more and more kids, with 'incentives' if a certain number show up on any given night. We then have two and a half hours in order to get through: 'Opening ceremonies' and drama presentation, crafts, recreation, snack, instruction, and music. This gives us about twenty five minutes for each section per night. It feels more about the quantity of people and 'things' than it is about teaching these kids about Jesus and His gospel. My beloved heads up the preschool ministry at our church so she is hoping. She makes sure all four of the classes of preschoolers have what they need. and are taken care of. With DS2 having Aspergers I am an assistant teacher for the 4th grade group (when he moves on to 5th I will follow along with him). DS1 is almost too old, but I am very, very grateful that the church has expanded VBS to include the 6th grade and beyond (to about 8th I think). DD3 is upset with me this week because I am never (emphasis hers) with her. As a result we are probably not going to be home before 9:00PM any night this week. Then getting them down, etc. I am not getting to bed before 11:00, and not asleep before 12:00 midnight. With the little sleep I got this past weekend, I am hurting pretty bad right now - so my mind may not be all that... 'crisp'. Ok, enough background... this is one of the stories from Jesus' time of ministry that really affected me when I was a young Christian. Now, I am no expert on leprosy, or even the what the world was like in and around 0 - 30 A.D. But I do know a little about thankfulness, and the differences in social standings. Ten men who are the absolute bottom of the social ladder in their day (straw dogs would be more welcome), who were suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually called out to a man whom they heard could do miracles. This was a man (Jesus) who was traveling with what is essentially an entourage, and yet he stopped and talked (and, more importantly, healed!) them. The part that really grabbed my thoughts was not necessarily the healing because this was something that Jesus had done in other places, but it was the response of the men. I can only assume they went on their way and at least rejoiced with their families and friends. Perhaps most, if not all, of them did do as Jesus told them. But only one man realized who he should give the praise and thanks to. And the man was not even an Israelite. Throughout the gospels there are instances of gentiles recognizing Jesus' authority. The Centurion, several Samaratins. The most telling passages are when Jesus says, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15 : 24, esv ). How eye opening is that! It's not that He did not come for the rest of us 'Gentiles', but that His ministry was focused on Israel first, and then His disciples would be sent out to the rest of the world later. To me this just heightens the awareness of the privilege of knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And the great need to acknowledge what He has done in my life. Verse for today: John 3 : 16-21, ESV “For God so loved the world, [9] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

2 comments:

BigMama said...

Great thoughts on the 10 lepers.

Which VBS curriculum are you using? I'm torn between really liking the programs that are out now and being a bit overwhelmed by them. But I have to admit that my kids are really able to remember the main points from each night due to sheer repetition and a fluid curriculum. I miss being a part of a VBS (our church didn't do VBS), but the kids have enjoyed the ones in the area that they have attended.

samurai said...

Our church is using "Son World Adventure Park". For my liking the scriptures are not lining up as smoothly as I would prefer for each days lesson.