28C19. 2 Kings 5:14-17. “Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God.” Jesus himself had been baptized in the Jordan. The symbolism of plunging below the water and rising up can be seen for Naaman as a cleansing as well as a resurrection from all that was sinful and a life lived in the belief of false gods. Naaman “stood before Elisha and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” He had found not only good health in place of leprosy but even more important a holiness that gave him eternal life. Elisha rejects Naaman’s gift because he acts only to receive his reward from God and not any human being. As well as Naaman Elisha lives for what is eternal and not just for what is temporary.
Luke 17:11-19. Jesus has compassion on the lepers and cleanses them. Only the Samaritan, (who was deemed to be a wretched traitor to what was considered the only true Judaism because worship was thought only acceptable that was centered in Jerusalem) “realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” Jesus “said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.’” Apparently the other nine were so self-absorbed and self-centered that they could not think beyond and outside of themselves to the Giver of the incredible gift they had just received. The nine received a gift that could only last to the grave; the Samaritan received the gift that was temporary also but more importantly the gift of faith that was eternal. The nine probably thought just of themselves returning to a normal healthy life. Living our lives within the boundaries of our own self is to live in a small insular world; living our lives with God as the center is to live in a world that is boundless.
2 Timothy 2:8-13. Paul is witnessing from the sufferings of his own life to the necessity to endure the difficulties of staying on the narrow way in world that cannot understand or accept anyone who is not self-serving but is God-centered instead. Jesus says in John 17:14a, b: “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world.” Paul writes, “This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.” This world apart from God is only empowered to provide for us up to the grave and not beyond. Only God can give what is eternal.