Completing the JourneyOur reading for today is about 10 men who had Leprosy. It was a horrible, alienating, isolating, stigmatising, debilitating and fatal disease. It killed you socially, emotionally, spiritually and finally physically.
These ten men asked Jesus for help. His act of healing called them to step out in faith - they had to head off to the priest and they were healed on the way. This implies that all of them had responded in faith and trust. They heard Jesus' instruction and acted on it and healing came. All ten had a measure of faith and trust.
Only one had gratitude.
And he was a Samaritan - he was considered only a partial Jew because his ancestors had intermarried with other nations. He hadn't grown up with the Jerusalem temple, but a second-rate sanctuary in Samaria. He hadn't been taught by the Pharisees and Saducees. He didn't have the heritage.
And maybe, because of his lack of heritage and status, he lacked the attitude of entitlement that often afflicts the privileged.
It's very easy to feel that we deserve certain things. That we are entitled to certain privileges. Did the other nine experience healing and feel that maybe they had earned it through their faithful response?
The Samaritan recognises that nothing would have been possible without Jesus. He goes back to demonstrate unrestrained gratitude. Jesus implies that this is part of his whole healing. This man is more whole than the other nine.
How often I've received what God has given me with a level of restraint and - if I'm brave enough to admit it - entitlement. This has robbed me of joy and peace and the sense of being loved.
I think the lessons in the story speak for themselves...
|Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" |
14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." (Luke17:11-19)