Prayer

Wide Mercy, Wide Prayers: For the Salvation of All People (1 Tim 2:1–7)

One of the primary ways the church advances the kingdom of God is through corporate prayer. And when God’s people gather at the throne of grace, they shouldn’t limit their prayers to the elect. They should pray for all people. Why? Because there’s a wideness in God’s mercy. While his special grace secures the repentance of some, his common grace solicits the repentance of many.1 Thus, there’s a real sense in which our heavenly Father desires, provides for, and pursues the salvation of all people. Such a big-hearted God calls for big-hearted prayers.

The Danger of a Narrow Gospel

Paul begins his first letter to Timothy by issuing a warning against false teachers (1:3-7). While scholars debate the precise identity and nature of the heresy, it seems that it bore some relation to Judaism. In particular, the teachers appear to have pushed the notion that the “law” or torah was only for a particular class of people, i.e., “the just” (1:8-9). Hence, they taught a kind of “Judaizing exclusivism.” The gospel isn’t for all; it’s only for some.2

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Turning Back to Say “Thanks”

By Karin Brown

One Leper’s Return

One day as Jesus was heading to Jerusalem, He was met at the edge of a village by ten lepers who were keeping their distance, as the Law of Moses required. Knowing Jesus’ reputation as a healer, they cried out to him to have compassion on their suffering.

No one in Jewish history had ever been healed of leprosy. The rabbis concluded that such a healing would surely be a sign of the Messiah. Strangely, Jesus told the ten men to go and show themselves to the priests, something you were to do when you were already healed, as you can read in Leviticus 14.

No doubt puzzled, they did what Jesus told them to and went on their way to Jerusalem. And as they went, they were healed! Can you imagine? A miraculous healing – instantaneous and complete – and the only recorded instance of Jesus healing multiple people at the same time! But more than that, for a leper, the relational healing that would follow as they could again be readmitted to the community that had shunned them for years.

One of them, a Samaritan, immediately turned back, and praised God with a loud voice. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and gave thanks. Then Jesus asked in disappointment, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:11-19).

One. Only one. Only 10% turned around and said “thank you.” He said it with a loud voice – I love that part! He must have been overwhelmed with thanksgiving.

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