Love does not illustrate, it simply is the goodness beyond the goodness of the scribes and Pharisees. All the illustrations [Jesus] has given in the various situations discussed in 5:20-48 are illustrations of it. In it we achieve living union with, have fully entered into, the kingdom of the heavens. (Willard, The Divine Conspiracy p. 181).
The rest of this week is going to be a little different. While I was praying about how to study goodness, I think God impressed upon me that doing a word-study on “goodness” was not what He had in mind for this week. What I felt prompted to do was have us look more deeply at a few instances from Jesus’ life here on earth.
Jesus is goodness incarnate, what better way to study goodness than to become more familiar with Him?
Remember lectio divino? While I’m not entirely sure of the “right” way to practice lecio divino, my “version” of it is to settle yourself in a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths and ask the Holy Spirit to come, awaken your soul to truth in the scripture. Then, as you prepare to read the passage, use all your senses. Let your imagination fill in the blanks as you would experience if you were physically there: imagine was the weather hot? Imagine the smells – dusty perhaps on the road, mingled with animals? Listen with your ears – was there a chatter of people talking as they traveled, the sound of wheels creaking on a donkey drawn cart? See with your eyes, look at the scene and the people around.
We are going to look at a story from Luke 17:11-19. Before we read it, though, let’s set the stage even more.
The Levitical law prohibited a person with an infectious skin disease – who had been declared “unclean” by the priest – to live within the general community. That person had to wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out “unclean! Unclean!” As long as the infectious disease lasted, the person had to live alone, outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:9-1, 45).
If you don’t know much about leprosy, feel free to look it up on the internet. My “internet research” shows that it is a skin condition that causes white sores on the body that can be quite painful – the pain can include nerve pain, a leper may be unable to feel their extremities, and have a disfigured face (among other things). It is contagious, although the incubation period can be a period of years.
Now, come to the scene from Jesus’ life. In Luke 17:11-19. He is traveling along the road when the lepers appear to Him. Employing lectio divino, read through the scene.
What did the Spirit impress upon you?