How to discern God’s will
Reading: Luke 17:11-19
Today, we have some medicines to cure leprosy.
But two thousand years ago in Israel, people didn’t know what to do with this skin disease and how to cure this disease.
So they were very fearful of leprosy.
They didn’t allow any leper to come near them.
So lepers lived in their own hut with other lepers far away from towns.
But it seemed that they somehow talked with those who were not lepers.
They might have obtained food from them.
Then one Samaritan leper heard about Jesus who is curing all kinds of diseases.
This Samaritan man also heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
So this Samaritan man convinced his 9 Jewish leper friends to come to Jesus.
He might have said:
“Come with me.
I am sure that Jesus could cure us.
We will be healed!
Common, let’s go!”
Then they waited near the border between Samaria and Galilee where Jesus might pass them by.
When they saw Jesus, they didn’t come near but shouted in a loud voice:
“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
But then Jesus said something strange to them at this time:
“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
In another day, Jesus touched a leper and said:
Like this Jesus healed him.
But for some reason, for this time Jesus didn't touch them.
Jesus didn’t pray for them.
Jesus didn't rebuke and command leprosy to leave them.
Jesus didn't do anything to cure their diseases.
But Jesus simply said:
“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
Because Jesus knew what God wanted to do in this case.
Jesus knew God’s intention.
Jesus has a good relationship with God.
So when Jesus healed people, Jesus discerned God’s will.
Then Jesus healed people differently at times.
Jesus heals each person in God’s way so that we understand God.
So Jesus said:
“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
We know in those days, at the temple, there were Jewish priests who were supposed to examine when lepers were cured.
When they found that they were cured, these priests were supposed to say:
“You are cured!
Go and live among people.”
I assumed for many days, the priest might have never examined anybody.
I am not sure whether they remembered how to examine skin diseases.
They might have not believed that they were lepers before.
Besides, one of them were Samaritan.
His Jewish friends might need to go to their Jewish priest.
But the Jewish priests might refuse to examine this Samaritan man.
So the Samaritan man might have wondered:
“Why did Jesus said ‘Go and show yourselves to the Jewish priests’?
What was his intention?”
But the Samaritan man obeyed Jesus.
Then lo and behold, on their way to the priests, they were all cured, because they obeyed what Jesus said.
Then the Samaritan man might have thought:
What shall I do now?
Shall I still need to go and see the Jewish priest?
Shall I go to my Samaritan village?
Shall I come to Jesus and worship him?
Then the Samaritan felt what the will of God was for him.
He felt something in his heart.
Joy and peace guided him to come to Jesus.
His heart was telling him:
“Go back to Jesus who healed you.
Share your joy with Jesus.
Express your gratitude and praise him!
Celebrate with him!”
So the Samaritan man understood God’s will and came back.
So he came back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice.
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.
The Samaritan man was so happy to praise to Jesus.
God seemed to speak to his heart:
“You understood what I wanted for you.
Thank you for coming to praise Jesus who is God.”
So Jesus said to him:
“Rise and go.
Your faith has made you well.”
But his 9 other Jewish friends didn’t come back.
God was also asking them to come and praise Jesus.
God wanted them to rejoice with Jesus.
God wanted to receive praise through Jesus.
So Jesus was waiting.
God asked Jesus to wait so that he could help them.
Then Jesus was like:
“Where are the other nine?
They were also cured.
Why don’t they come and give praise to God?”
They were cured but didn’t come to worship Jesus.
They might not have faith in Jesus.
They didn’t understand why Jesus could cure them.
Then they didn’t expect more from Jesus.
So they might have went to see the priests at the temple.
They might have praised God in the temple even though God was waiting for them to come to Jesus.
God made the temple and priesthood to explain who Jesus is.
If they came back, since Jesus was also on his way to Jerusalem, they could have walked together with Jesus to see priests.
Then they might have been the students of Jesus.
But they didn’t know God.
They didn’t understand God’s will for them.
They didn’t follow God’s plan but went to their own life.
Our healing is not the end goal.
Our healing is supposed to guide us into the presence of Jesus.
That is what God wants here.
Jesus heals us and wants to have a relationship with us and walk with us.
If we understand Jesus and his way, we may worship him in his presence.
When we understand, we may sing songs to God and worship God in God’s way.
Then God would love to listen to our song.
God who is alive will listen to us and notice our worship.
Then even when we are alone, we can sing some praise to God.
God would love to listen to our song.
Now let’s talk about how to discern God’s will.
Let’s think about how we may feel when we follow God’s will.
If we choose the path that God wants us to walk on, we may feel like these.
Let me give these lists of feelings that you may have:
When we discern God’s will and move along with the Holy Spirit, we may feel that God is with us:
We may feel good and peaceful.
We may feel grateful and joy.
We may feel free and satisfied.
We may feel that our life situation is right for us.
So we may become generous, faithful and loving. (Galatians 5:22-23)
But if we chose wrong paths because we don’t know the will of God or how to move along with the Holy Spirit, we may feel bad and separated from God.
Then if we follow the wrong paths for a long time, we may feel like these:
We may feel separated from Jesus and from God’s people
We may feel bored, sad, discouraged and becoming someone else.
We may feel we are everywhere and nowhere.
We may become fearful, afraid, anxious, grumpy and complaining
We may be busy but accomplish almost nothing.
We may realize that our choice is killing us. We don’t feel joy.
We cannot receive love. We cannot love. We are not ready.
We don't care about others.
We close up.
We are not creative
We may becoming unwise, because our brain has too much stress.
Then we get easily tired and annoyed.
We may get easily upset and engaged in a silly argument.
We may get easily addicted to something because we want to forget about what we are experiencing.
We may watch TV for a long time.
People may not give us good feedback saying: “good job. nice work.”
We may become competitive, when you don’t need to do.
We may be not cooperative.
We may want what others have.
We may feel alone and lonely.
We may feel life is too difficult.
We are confused, having many thoughts.
We worry about things. (You may feel like this when you are about to do something new, even though it is God’s will. Then through prayer, you may move to the state of peacefulness.)
We could not be humble.
We may feel pain in your body: e.g., back pain.
Our body may become weak and easily get hurt.
When we feel like these, we may need to return to God.
We need to humble ourselves and return to God.
We need to remember our first love with God
We need to love God back.
We need to remember what God has been speaking to us.
We may write down God’s will that we know.
Then we try to do something that God has been asking us.
We do something according to our calling.
God will help us.
We can begin anew with God.
Then as we choose God’s will and do what is right in God, we may feel connected to Jesus and our neighbors.
We may feel moving toward God and serving God
We may feel we are with God, whether we are busy or not.
We may feel lightness, and freedom.
We may feel inspired.
We may be creative and have good ideas.
We feel that God gives us faith, hope, and love.
We feel courage and strength coming from God.
We feel our choice is life-giving.
We listen to God, then plan and work.
We become humble and serve others.
We give and receive love.
We experience divine coincidences.
Things seem to go well and people don't insist on their way.
As we use our gifts, people may thank God and even say to us: “Good job! Great work.”
You feel “God works through you.”
You are deeply thankful and amazed.
You feel God is saying:
“I have created you for this.
I have led you to this place where you are supposed to be.
You are doing exactly what you are meant to do.”
You feel like you have found what you have been looking for.
When we choose to do the will of God, Jesus guides us and give us various gentle pushes like these so that we may continually obey the will of God.
Then as we proceed with God’s plan, we may find ourselves smiling and having a genuine peace from God.
So when you make each decision, think about this.
When you want to do something, ask these questions to yourself:
As you move on with your decision, ask:
Does the peace of Jesus remain in my heart?
Does God open the doors for me to follow Jesus?
Does it seem right to me and Jesus?
Does the decision continue to be acceptable to me and Jesus?
Does the choice energize me?
Does the course flow freely and smoothly?
Does my choice have the closest connection with my personal history with Jesus?
Does God strengthen me and give faith to proceed?
Do I have the courage to proceed?
Do people know me support this?
Do others who know me well confirm the decision?
Does it further and strengthen my commitments to my friends and family?
We make many decisions for our lives.
We need to choose a college to go to; buy books, cars, or houses; choose new jobs for our life.
In those days, we may think about these questions.
Then we may be able to do what God wants us to do.
God loves to guide us to live a wonderful life.
May we follow his leading.
Jesus, thank you for helping me making good choices.
We want to sense God's leading and make good choices for God.
Help us to discern your will well and obey.
In Jesus name, we pray.