Ten Men with Leprosy
11On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy came toward him. They stood at a distance 13and shouted, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”
On their way they were healed. 15When one of them discovered that he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God. 16He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was from the country of Samaria.
17Jesus asked, “Weren't ten men healed? Where are the other nine? 18Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?” 19Then Jesus told the man, “You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well.”
The stories of those from Samaria is an interesting little thread through the Gospel narrative. The Samaritans and the Jewish people had some pretty significant theological differences. Which is why it would have shocked Jesus’ disciples that he chose a “good” Samaritan as the hero of one of his most famous parables.
Leprosy wasn’t just a chronic and debilitating disease. It forced you to be excluded from society. You were pushed to the outskirts of civilization, and made to shout “unclean” to passers-by to warn them from coming too close. A Samaritan leper would have been a double outcast to the disciples – his body was sick and his faith was faulty. And we can only guess at how the other nine lepers may have treated this outsider in their midst.
Yet, when Jesus healed the ten men, the outsider was the only one who came back to say thank you. Perhaps he was the one who felt the least deserving of healing at the hand of Jesus, a Jewish teacher. Perhaps the others were busy rushing off to rejoin the society they had been forced to leave.
But we do know this man was so thankful that he was praising God loudly and threw himself at Jesus’ feet. It’s a reminder that sometimes even those who seem furthest from Christ, can still call out for his healing touch, and find themselves drawn to him.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for reaching out to heal all those who believe in you and call upon your name, regardless of how close or far from you they may seem to us. Thank you for your healing touch in our lives, and forgive us for the times we forget to return to you with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.