13 October 2019Luke 17:11-19
Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? (v. 17)
Psalm: Psalm 111
What emotions do you think Jesus conveyed in his voice when he said, "Were not ten made clean?" Might it have been frustration, disappointment or surprise? God’s healing has unexpectedly broken into the lives of ten men whose lives were marred by a dreaded skin disease. If it was leprosy then the condition would have developed slowly and initially been recognised only by the individual and his closest family and friends. As it became more noticeable the wider community’s fear would mean that the individual was ostracised to the edge of society – hence "keeping their distance". The slow gradual development of the condition is contrasted with Jesus’ sudden instruction to "Go and let the priest examine you."
The twist in the story is that it was a Samaritan who chose to return, throw himself at Jesus’ feet and offer thanks. As in Luke 15 it is the Samaritan ‘outsider’ who does the right thing and embodies righteous actions. For the people of Jesus’s day this would have been shocking, as Samaritans were viewed with high suspicion. Yet it is this person who acts properly and offers thanks. The spread of the gospel is beginning to reach beyond Israel to all nations. Might the emotion in Jesus’ voice also convey joy and excitement that it was a Samaritan who is responding to God’s freedom?
When I was at Sunday school I recall my lovely teacher concluding that it is important not to be like one of the nine that failed to say thank you. That is true. But another angle is to rejoice that the goodness of God embraces the ten men including the Samaritan who others might reject.
- Some people write down each day three things for which they are thankful. On New Year’s Eve they have a list of a 1,000 blessings to offer back to God in praise. Might you start? What would be on your list today?
- Is there a difference between’ healing’ in verse 15 and ‘being made well’ verse 19?
- How much do you know about Hansen's disease and the work of the Leprosy Mission?