Year B – Ephiphany 6 – 2 Kings 5:1-14

5 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ 4So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, ‘Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.’ He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, ‘When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.’ 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.’ 8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.’ 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, ‘Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, “Wash, and be clean”?’ 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
Summary – Naaman in our story was a great man in the eyes of the world. People probably admired him and respected him. In the eyes of the world he looked like he had it together. But in reality he was diseased, he was unclean. The Power of earthly Kings could not heal him. He could not buy healing with his great wealth. He went to the prophet Elisha, who told him to dip himself in the Jordan river. When Naaman was told that this simple act of faith would cleanse him, his pride got in the way. He thought too much of himself to do such a simple, and in his mind, ridiculous thing. Luckily for Naaman, his servant convinced him to just try what Elisha told him. Naaman changed his mind and went into the Jordan River, and he came out cleansed and healed.
Insight – We are often like Naaman. We may look clean and well put together on the outside. But we all have a terrible disease that is called sin. We often try to receive healing from sin by a variety of ways. Some may pretend sin does not exists, others may look important political or religious people for healing, or by performing great acts, or some may try to buy their forgiveness. But God is not pleased by us performing difficult tasks that he did not ask us to do. He asks that we do a very simple thing, that we have faith in Christ. He wants us to live our lives looking to Christ for our salvation, for our healing. If we do have faith, we can also have the assurance that Christ will surely cleanse us, heal us, and forgive us.
Discussion – What kinds of things are we tempted to put our faith in, instead of looking to Christ? How can our pride get in the way of asking for forgiveness of sin?
Child’s Catechism – What action did Naaman perform to be healed? Naaman washed himself in the Jordan seven times.
Prayer – Loving Father, we confess before you that we often sin by trying to earn our forgiveness. We often look to our own actions, our own feelings instead of looking at the death and resurrection of Christ. We ask that you give to us such faith that looks to Christ, and him alone. We ask this in His holy name, Amen.