On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them,
"Go and show yourselves to the priests."And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."Luke 17: 11-21
We received a great message on this passage Sunday morning from a visiting pastor, Dr. James Baird. Three things stood out to me, and I wanted to expound upon them here.
I had never noticed before that in this healing, Jesus did not lay hands on these men. He looked at them and said, "Go...." It is intriguing to contemplate how long the men waited around before they hobbled along-- still broken, still diseased--towards the priest. I wonder if they doubted that the answer would come. Whatever the case, they did walk, though, and somewhere along the way the answer, the healing, came.
Secondly, only one came back to say thanks. This fact is what makes this a story about gratefulness and also a story about ingratitude. Dr. Baird mentioned that perhaps the other nine assumed that Jesus would know their hearts, that they were grateful, and so telling him was unnecessary. Or, maybe they were in such a hurry to get to the priest and return to their lives, that turning back was not an option. However, one did turn back. His need to express thanks was greater than his desire for anything else. This point really convicted me. I was suddenly aware of how often thankfulness is simply an afterthought for me and not an act of sacrifice. "God knows our hearts," I would justify to myself when I remembered the slight of failing to "say grace" before a meal. We have been blessed with so much; ingratitude is not an option. Thankfulness is an action.
Lastly, it stuck out to me that this man was a Samaritan--a stranger, a foreigner. He was not one of the chosen people. I began to think of Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well and his story of the good Samaritan. All of these were not coincidence. It seemed to me as though Jesus was showing a glimpse of how the sacrifice he would make would reach outside of the Jews, into the neighboring areas and ultimately to the farthest corners of the world.
And now, I feel this is the perfect time to continue my 1000
16. communication with the Master of the Universe
17. hot chocolate made with real milk and covered with whipped cream
18. living in a time when and a country where I can vote
19. Buttercups spread across a rolling hill
20. "He removes kings and sets up kings"
22. hot showers
23. contact lenses