This book focuses on biblical reconciliation, both in its primary sense (as Paul uses it) and in a secondary sense, insofar as it touches on reconciliation between races, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, the powerful and the weak, and between other alienated groups. The focus of the book is Naaman, a Syrian general, and his Jewish slave girl, whose simple testimony helped to bring about a great work of reconciliation: the salvation of her Syrian master. As the story unfolds, God’s saving power is displayed, particularly in bringing light to the Gentiles and in demonstrating the free offer of the gospel. Many Christians identify Naaman’s story with his miraculous healing in the Jordan River but fail to see the greater truth of God’s love for the Gentiles and the breadth of the gospel’s reach. Mark Belz brings understanding and encouragement to us as we see God’s great mercy at work.
“The little slave girl’s enthusiastic referral of her Syrian master to the prophet Elisha started some invisible but powerful wheels in motion. The story doesn’t end at the conclusion of 2 Kings 5, nor with Gehazi, and not even with the closing of the Old Testament.” (Page 127)
“The theme of this writing is the ministry of reconciliation, which the apostle Paul claimed as his own in 2 Corinthians 5, and the focus is the Syrian general’s little Jewish slave girl. She is sometimes forgotten as this story is recounted, perhaps because she is mentioned only once. But in fact, she is the protagonist. Without this unnamed child’s testimony to her mistress, there would have been no healing and no story.” (Page 2)
“Leprosy is not sin, nor can we say that it is caused by sin. Yet it is a picture of sin. In Scripture, it often represents an uncleanness and an incurable condition. It results in isolation and loneliness.” (Page 19)
“There is nothing more tragic than an apparently happy but godless life that goes on without God’s interruption.” (Page 17)
“Here is the conversion of Zacchaeus and of the apostle Paul, but with so much interesting psychological detail. A man in need, a message to be believed, a believer transmitting the message, the gift of grace, the promise of healing, the necessity and the challenge of faith, the power of God, the confession of Yahweh as Lord, a changed life, even a baptism—it is all here in 2 Kings 5.” (Page xiv)