sent to the one – the leper

Topic: Sent. Healing. Category: Healing> Hope> Bible Scriptures: Luke 4:27.

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Following from last week’s message, titled Sent to The One – The Widow, we will continue to go deeper into Jesus’ words that He declared when He was in His home town of Nazareth. 

The scene was this. Jesus stood up in the synagogue and declared His mission of why He, the Eternal One had come in human form. In all that Jesus did, thought and said, He revealed the heart of God the Father. For His mission was and is to bring salvation and healing, honour and equality, eternal life and freedom.

As Jesus is the Eternal One, He knew the secrets of the hearts of those in the synagogue and their ancestors in the days of old. Jesus was there when their ancestors claimed they were the people of the Eternal One, but in their hearts they had given their allegiance to evil.

Both those in the synagogue and their ancestors in the days of old had rejected the Eternal One and His right to rule and reign. 

Jesus knowing how those in the synagogue prided themselves of being of the seed of the Ancient Israelites,  reminded them that many of their forefathers, just like themselves rejected the Eternal One. Therefore they rejected His prophets.

As it was recorded in the Holy Scriptures in Luke 4:27 Jesus said, And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

So let us go back to that time when the Ancient Israelites said they were followers of the Eternal One, but in their  hearts they had given their allegiance to evil. 

Sent to the One of Many

When a generation had come and gone since the days of Elijah and the widow to whom Elijah was sent. This was now the days of Elisha. 

The situation was this. There were two kings. The king of Israel and the king of Syria. 

The king of Israel was from the line of Ahab and Jezebel who was a prophetess of the baal god. The word of the Eternal One states that the king of Israel who reigned in these days of Elisha, was as wicked as his ancestor Ahab. For the king of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Eternal One. 

The king of Israel saw the king of Syria as a constant threat to his perceived right rule and reign. There had been raids of Israel by Syrian army. In fact the king of Syria had obtained military victory over the king of Israel. 

As for the king of Syria, in his eyes, the commander of his army was a great and honourable man. A mighty man of valour. The king of Syria even thought that the Eternal One had given military victory to him, because of this man, the commander of his army. 

This is an extraordinary thought from the king of Syria. As he had given his allegiance to a god of their culture, the god of wind, rain, and storms. 

The commander of the Syrian army, who was considered by the king of Syria as a great and honourable man, was a leper. His name was Naaman.

sent to the one who is willing

So this was a time of great drama and constant military battles. During one of the Syrians raids in Israel, a young girl was taken captive. She was brought back from the land of Israel. 

Naaman’s wife became the mistress of the young girl who was taken captive. The young girl said to her mistress,  ‘If only my master, your husband, could be with the prophet of the Eternal One. He then would be healed of his  leprosy. As the Eternal One heals.

Naaman heard these words of hope and life spoken by the young girl who was taken captive. So Naaman went to his master, the king of Syria. Naaman told him the words of the young girl who was taken captive. The king of Syria said, ‘I am going to write a letter to Israel’s king and I want you to take it to him immediately.’

So Naaman departed from the king of Syria’s presence and set out on his journey to the king of Israel. Together with the king of Syria’s letter, Naaman took 10 talents of silver, 6 thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes, along with horse and chariot. This was a big moment.

Naaman came to the king of Israel. He handed over the letter from the king of Syria. A letter from the very one that the king of Israel had feared. In part it said, ‘Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.’

The king of Israel, read the letter from the king of Syria. 

false perceptions unveiled

Then something shocking happened. The king of Israel tore his royal clothes. This was a violent outward gesture, that was the custom of the Ancient Israelites in times of great mourning or horror. It was a custom that could either express extreme grief or more significantly in this instance, reject the perception of being perceived as a god. 

The king of Israel, with a loud voice said, ‘Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man (the king of Syria) sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?’

However from the king of Israel’s own words, his outward actions did not necessarily reflect the secrets of his heart. He distrusted the king of Syria and his motives. He then adds to his response, ‘Therefore please consider, and see how he (the king of Syria) seeks a quarrel with me.’

The news that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in horror became known to Elisha the prophet of the Eternal One. So Elisha enquired of the king. ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Please let the man with leprosy come to me, so that he shall know that there is a prophet of the Eternal One in Israel’ 

The king of Israel permitted Naaman to come to Elisha the prophet of the Eternal One. Naaman with his horse and chariot journeyed to Elisha’s house. He stood at the door and waited. 

Unexpectedly Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman. The messenger brought words of healing and life from the Eternal One through his prophet Elisha. 

The words were this. ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.’

the Eternal One who is personal

These words were so powerful and reflected the heart of the Eternal One. In these simple words, the Eternal One revealed Himself to Naaman in a personal way. A way that he would understand. 

With the words that were spoken to Naaman by the messenger of Elisha, the Eternal One protects Naaman from having false perceptions of Elisha being the one who does the healing. As it was with Naaman’s king and his culture, if Elisha came out and commanded the signs and wonders that Naaman was expecting, Naaman could think Elisha was a god, instead of knowing and understanding that it is the Eternal One who is God. 

Through the words Elisha’s messenger spoke, the Eternal One revealed His kingdom of justice and equality. The Eternal One included not only his prophet in His wonders, but the messenger of his prophet and Naaman the Syrian also. 

The prophet of the Eternal One was sent to the one and empowered his messenger to speak healing and life over Naaman. Each one having a part in God’s wonders. Each one equal. 

Yet Naaman was furious. This was not the way he wanted his healing to happen. In anger he went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Eternal One his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’

Naaman had it all planned how the Eternal One should heal him. There will be high drama. Elisha the prophet of the Eternal One will come to him and honour him with a personal touch. All shall see and come to know of this moment. That’s what Naaman thought should happen.

signs and wonders

Naaman wanted the signs and wonders and all eyes to be on him. 

He continued in his rage, ‘Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?”’

Seeing through Naaman’s eyes gives an incredible insight into the spiritual situation. As the cultural belief of the time is that spiritual uncleanliness is linked to gods of the land and the natural world. So even in the eyes of the surrounding nations who worshipped other gods, Israel was perceived as unclean. Interestingly however, the Eternal One, the God of Israel was not considered unclean. Nor was their any doubt He is the healer. 

This is an extraordinary revelation of the Eternal One and the spiritual status of Israel. But in amongst Naaman’s rage and all the false belief and worship of other gods, the Eternal One was there, pursing the one. 

Naaman’s servants came and spoke to him. They gave him respect and said, ‘“My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”’

Naaman’s servants too had a part in God’s wonders. So Naaman listened to the wisdom of his servants and the words that the Eternal One had spoken to him through His prophet’s servant. Naaman did according to what had been spoken. He went down to the Jordan and dipped 7 times. He rose up out of the Jordan and then it happened! 

At that very moment, just as the Eternal One said it would happen, Naaman’s skin was healed. It was not only healed, but it was restored to that of a little child. He was clean.

the Eternal One pursues in love

The Eternal One was there with Naaman in his rage. He was there in the rebellion and darkness of Ancient Israelites. The Eternal One had never left Israel, even tho those who claimed to be His had left Him. For He is the God of everywhere. He is the Eternal One who continues to pursue in love the one. 

There were many lepers in the land of Israel in need of cleansing. But the Eternal One cleansed the Syrian leper. For he was the one who was willing. 

Naaman together with all his aids returned to the place where Elisha the prophet of the Eternal One was staying. He came and stood before Elisha and declared in front of everyone. ‘“Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.”

Elisha’s response again revealed the heart of the Eternal One. He said, ‘As the Eternal One lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.’

Naaman urges Elisha to take it, but Elisha again refused. For the custom of the day was to make payment for any blessing. Pay bribes and appease the gods was a normal way of their spiritual life. 

But Elisha, the prophet of the Eternal One reveals that the Eternal One is like no other god. The Eternal One is the one who lives eternally and gives freely. Unlike all other gods, the Eternal One is the one true God. The Eternal One says, there is nothing for us to pay or do to, we simply chose in our heart to be willing.

sent to the one to encounter the Eternal One 

Naaman had encountered the Eternal One. He had a choice to make. This choice was not a condition to receive his healing, as he already had received his healing. This was a choice of the heart. The choice that faces every individual of who to allegiance to and worship. 

So Naaman boldly declared, ‘Elisha if you won’t take my gift, at least allow me to take two mule-loads of earth. I, your servant, will no longer give burnt offerings or sacrifices to other gods. For the Eternal One is my only God now.’

Naaman is to return to the king of Syria. But before he goes, he asks Elisha one more thing. Thinking of returning to the king and all the duties he performs.

Now that he has given his allegiance to the one true God, the Eternal One, he sees a potential conflict. As the commander of the king’s army, he accompanies the king to the temple of the Syrian king’s god. The Syrian god of wind, rain and storms. Inside this temple, the king of Syria leans on the hand of Naaman. As a result  they bow down to the Syrian god of wind, rain and storms. Naaman genuinely asks, ‘When I bow down with the king as he leans on my hand, may the Eternal One please pardon me in this thing.’

go in peace 

Elisha, the prophet of the Eternal One who sees into the heart, said to Naaman, ‘Go in peace.’ 


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