TD Jakes - Which One
And then Jesus says to them the statement that causes me to really get microscopic in my understanding of really scrutinizing the continuity of this text because Jesus says to them, "Go show thyself to the priests". Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. He didn't say, "Be healed". He didn't say, "Behold". He didn't say, "I bless you". He didn't say, "I'll fix you". He didn't say anything to them, but told them to, "Go show yourself to the priests". Like this? With boils on my skin, and fingers falling off, and oozing, infectious sores, you want me to go into the crowd of the whole, still broken?
God will often challenge us to get out of our sociological constructs, to get out of our circle of comfortability, to get away from that which is familiar, to take the chance of going and showing ourselves, our true selves, not who you pretend to be, not who you would like to be, not who you want me to think you are. Go show yourself, your original, authentic self to the priests. And the Bible said that they turned to go show themselves to the priests. I have to stop and acknowledge what faith it took to turn around and head to the priests still infected, still losing. It would've been good if I was healed and then I went to the priests, but I had to go lame and cripple, and I had to walk as if Jesus had not touched me.
It doesn't look like they've had an encounter with God. It doesn't look like they're any better than they were. It doesn't look like things have changed at all, and yet they were called to walk by faith. My brothers and sisters, hear me good. God doesn't have to prove who he is to challenge you to take a walk. You've got to be willing to step out on faith, even when it looks like things are not getting better. And sometimes it looks like things are getting worse, but in spite of the fact that it looks like things are getting worse, you have got to be willing to go show thyself to the priests.
Jesus is calling for authenticity. Jesus is causing us to be transparent. Jesus is asking us to show ourselves to the priests. But there's something wrong with myself, and there's something broken with myself, and there's something wrong with my home, and there's something wrong with my marriage, and there's something wrong with my finances. It's like telling me to go buy a house and I know I got bad credit. How can I go a house shopping when my credit is bad? Go show thyself to the priests. Go show thyself to the priests. Then I began to wonder, why did Jesus send them to the priests? What was it about the priests? What was it about the priest that he comes into this scene, he comes into the circumstance, he comes into this situation? Why would Jesus send the lepers to the priests?
Of course they were separated. Of course they were alienated. And then of course, according to the Scriptures, they were unclean, untouchable, undesirable, disconnected, alienated, ostracized, rejected, scorned, alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel. They were separated. And Jesus says, "Go show thyself to the priests". What would the priests do with ten lepers? Priests don't heal. Priests don't heal. Priests don't perform miracles. Priests do sacraments. What sacrament would the priests offer that would help the lepers recover?
And then I stumbled upon the mystery of the red heifer. You won't find it in the story. You'll have to go into Numbers to really dig it out and begin to understand, but if you go in to Numbers 19, you will hear that early on in the experience of Moses, God introduces Aaron and Eliezer to a concept that is centered around the red heifer. Not anybody, but the red heifer had to be offered up. Generally, most of the sacrifices were male in species, but this was a red heifer. The red heifer had to be completely red. No white, no other color, no strange hairs. Could not have ever been ridden on. Could not have had sex of any kind. It had to be a pure, red heifer, about three years old. The specificity with which the commandment is given is overwhelming.
Let me tell you why. Because the red heifer was used to cleanse the unclean. And when the red heifer was offered up, she had to be burned, completely burned with scarlet wool tossed in, and hyssop tossed in. A fire was created, and after the fire had completely dissolved every part of the perfect, pure, red heifer, then the commandment was made to Eliezer to show the red heifer ashes to Aaron, and to take those ashes and place them in water, and to mix the ashes with water so that if anybody touched anything that defiled them, that made them unclean, this would be the purification that the priests would use, not to cleanse, but to declare you clean. It's one thing to be cleansed and it's another thing to be declared clean.
See, it could be that you are cleansed, but you still need a declaration. For example, Christ is the anointed one before John pointed him out, but he still needed a declaration. At the Jordan River, John says, "Behold, the Lamb of God". So he gets a declaration for men, and then the heavens opened up and the voice spoke and said, "This is my beloved Son". So he gets the declaration from God. You cannot do this without declaration. The mystery of the red heifer is what sanctified them and officially declared them clean. And so they were going filthy to the priests to be declared clean. They were going infected to the priests to be declared clean. No scarf, no mask, no covering, no shield, no disinfectant. They were going filthy to the priests, and they went anyway.
The message I want you to get, the message I want you to understand quite clearly is that sometimes you have to go anyway. See, the mystery you have to realize about this is that if they went to the priests and the priests had the ashes from the red heifer, it would so cleanse them that they could be communal again. They could be connected again. They could be released. They could be authenticated. They could be validated. It set them into a category that was unique, and this was rare because from the days of Moses to the building of the second temple, there have only been nine red heifers that were used and an official ceremony of cleansing. This it's so rare.
Not only because it is difficult to find a heifer that meets the stiff qualification, but it's so rare because the ashes of the water of the heifer would last a long, long time. Even to this day, there have only been nine red heifers that have been used. And when I talk to my Jewish scholars and friends, they say they are waiting on the tenth heifer. They cannot begin to build the temple which will bring back the Messiah until they have found the right red heifer. That's what's underlying this text. Nine red heifers will be offered up, and we are at this moment looking for the tenth so that they become clean enough to rebuild the temple that provokes, according to my Hebrew brothers, the coming of the Messiah.
But in Jesus's day, there was no shortage of ashes. And he tells him to, "Go, show yourself to the priests". Go, go. And as they turn to go, the Bible says they were healed as they went. This is something that I want to work on a little bit because a lot of us want God to do it so we can go, but God is teaching us here, "I will do it as you go". You've been praying, "Lord, do it so I can go. Lord, fix me so you can use me. Lord, heal me so I can be delivered". But God is saying, "I will not heal you so you can go, I will heal you as you go".
Oh, look at somebody and say, "Keep on walking". It don't look good right now, but keep on walking. It doesn't look like the Word is at work, but keep on walking. It does not look like your faith has been legitimized, but sometimes you've got to keep on walking. You might be in pain, but you gotta keep on walking. You might be limping, but you gotta keep on walking. You might be uncertain, but you gotta keep on walking. And there they were, some with two toes and some with ten, and some with two fingers, and some was oozing infectious diseases, but they kept on walking.
You can walk with it. Everything doesn't have to be all right for you to be able to walk with it. You gotta be able to walk with stuff. The problem in the world right now is that we give up on things because they are broken, or lame, or hurt, and we don't understand how to walk with less than what we wanted. The ten lepers are walking with less than what they wanted, less than what they had, less than what they were born with, less than what they expected, less than what they believed, but they kept on walking. I want to look you in your face and tell you, you can walk with him. You can walk with him.
We've just read in the news how Brother Bosman who performed and did "Black Panther" and all of those feats and all of those acts, he did it with cancer in the fourth stage. And in between chemo, he was a superhero because you can walk with it. It might not be perfect, but you can walk with it. You might have to work on yourself... Oh my God, I feel the anointing of the Holy Ghost, but you can walk with it. I know the devil's been telling you you can't take anymore, and you can't stand it, and you gotta run, and you gotta get away, and you gotta fight back, but God has said, "Go show yourself to the priests". How can I go like this? You can walk with it.
Healed, cleansed, and whole. Healed, cleansed, and whole. The Bible said they were healed as they went, and that they were cleansed, but one of them saw that he was healed. One out of ten. One out of ten. This one guy has revelation, and revelation can create frustration. He has a revelation, number one, that he is not only cleansed, but that he's healed. And then what do you do with this revelation? Do you still keep walking in what God has said? Because the revelation that I'm healed does not necessarily give me permission to disobey the healer. But one of them said, "I don't know. This is risky, but I'm going to turn around and glorify God".
Now, the other nine kept going to the priests. Isn't that interesting? There have been nine red heifers offered up from the days of Moses until now and there were nine lepers that kept walking toward the priests. Only one of them got a revelation that challenged the tradition. What I want you to see is not which one of the ten, but which one of the priests. Because nine of them kept walking toward the priests that they were familiar with, but one of them perceived that the real Priest was behind him. And the great decision that they had to make was, "Which one? Do I go with the former or the latter? Do I go with tradition or do I go with revelation? I have a decision to make because I'm stuck between that which was and that which is". And only one of them decided, "I don't have to go there to get to the priests. The Priest is behind me".
Oh God, can I preach this? "The Priest, the one who spoke the Word, is my Priest". And he turns around and goes with revelation over information. Information for centuries that says you must go to this priest to be declared clean, and whole, and delivered. But revelation said the greater Priest is behind me. And I want to ask you this Sunday morning, which one are you going to follow, the traditions of your fathers or the revelation of this moment? I want to ask you. You've got a decision to make. Either you'll keep on going after your traditions or you'll have the audacity to walk in your revelation and turn around. And the Bible said he cried with a loud voice and glorified God.
I wish I had somebody that would holler in here. There's something about a shout that provokes a victory. There's somethin' about a shout that commands deliverance. There's somethin' about a shout that will break every yoke. He started shouting because he finally decided which one. Nine of them chose the other one, but one out of ten came back to Jesus. Wait a minute. One out of ten is the tithe. The tithe turned back to glorify God. The nine kept walking. When was the last time that you brought the tithe back to glorify God? When you bring the tithe back to glorify God, you are officially made whole.
Now, they were healed and they were cleansed, but we don't see whole until the tithe came back to the Priest. The tithe glorified God. The tithe lay prostrate in the floor. The tithe recognized who the real priests was. The tithe recognized who was the author and finisher of our faith, and it was exemplified through the tenth. And the temple cannot be built in Jerusalem until we get to the tenth because the tithe provokes the presence of the Messiah.
And so in our text today... oh God! God bless every person who understands the principle of the tenth one. That tenth one turning back to God provoked the breaking of a yoke, the tearing down of a system, the release of a pattern, the change of a circumstance. And he fell on Jesus's feet and glorified God because he had decided which one. And then Jesus asked this very complicated question, "Where are the nine"? But wait a minute, Lord. They're walking in what you told them to do. "Yes, but they're walking in the old revelation. They walked in what I had said. You walked in what I am saying. Where are the nine"?
So the expectation was for Jesus to give them a command. And while they were walking in their last command for them to receive a revelation, a revelation that was so overwhelming that they knew that they would not be justified through the law, but be saved by grace. And Jesus says, "Where are the nine"? I'm wondering if you're walking in tradition or are you walking in present-day revelation. I'm wondering if you can connect the dots between getting better and recovering and who owe the glory to. Which priest? Which place? What shall I render unto the Lord for all of his benefits toward me? Can I keep on asking God to bless me while all the ten is walking away? Do I have the courage to move away from the red heifer who is only a shadow of what Christ is in reality.
The red heifer had to be pure. The red heifer had to be set apart. The red heifer had to be mixed with myrrh. Hallelujah, the red heifer had to be burned with wood. The red heifer cleanse the trespasses of sin. Jesus was crucified on wood. He was nailed to a cross. He is the spotless sacrifice that was offered up for not only the sins that we have committed, but laid in store enough efficacious power in his blood to deal with everything that we will ever run into. And you're still standing here arguing law to grace and law to grace. Which one?
The nine kept on walking and they were cleansed. There's no doubt about it. The Bible says they were cleansed and they were healed. And the Bible says they were healed. But only one of them was made whole. You wanna be whole? You wanna keep it 100? You wanna be whole so that the point that you're no longer fragmented and needing somebody to fill you up to make up the distance between where you left off and what is still a void, vacant spot in your life?
If you wanna be whole, you gotta go to the right priest. If you wanna be whole, you cannot make people your priests. If you wanna be whole, you cannot make things your priests. They become your idols. If you want to be whole, you gotta go back to the one that spoke the Word over you to begin with, and lay your tithe, and lay yourself, and lay your burdens, and lay your needs down at his feet. And thereby, you will have glorified God.