Today Jesus is treated more like the servant in our previous reading than He is the Messiah. “No need to thank Him. He was just doing His job.” SO WRONG!
Luke tells us of an incident that happened one day while Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. We have heard many times how, when Jews travel between Galilee and Jerusalem that they go around Samaria. This is the custom of most all the Jews, but not Jesus’ custom. The two groups, Samaritans and Jews, did NOT socialize. But in this instance the group Jesus met was a mixed group. There was at least one Samaritan among this group of ten lepers.
These ten men all suffered from the same affliction and apparently hung around with one another. When Jesus came into the village near where they lived they began calling out to Him. They didn’t try and approach Him as other lepers had done. They just stared shouting out to Him. Jesus wasn’t afraid for them to come near Him but they obeyed the rules of their isolation anyway.
When calling out to Jesus they called Him Master and they asked for His mercy. They knew He had power over their situation and they asked Him to exercise that authority on their behalf. Jesus didn’t immediately heal them but told them to perform an act instead. They were to go show themselves to the priest. None of them hesitated. They didn’t question Him or comment that they were still infected so going to the priest would be a waste of time. They simply did as instructed. And by doing as they were told, they were healed.
One man out of the group of ten recognized that Jesus was praise worthy. This man was the Samaritan in the group. The other men were Jesus’ own countrymen. They didn’t bother to thank Him. Their attitude reminded me of yesterday’s reading. The master was not expected to thank the servant for doing his duty. These nine lepers treated Jesus in that same manner. They accepted His healing as part of the service He was rendering to the Jews. No need to thank Him. He was just doing His job. They continued on to the priest, I’m assuming. I was wondering if they went to the priest after being healed or just went on about their business, but then I remembered that they couldn’t return to society until they had been pronounced clean by the priest. They had no further need of Jesus.
But our Samaritan recognized the great gift he had been given. He knew he hadn’t earned this healing. He didn’t treat Jesus’ mercy as “part of His job.” He treated it as the immeasurable, undeserved, life altering miracle it truly was. Such a miracle deserved more than a simple thank you. The one bestowing this miracle was worthy of praise and thanks in the extreme! Our Samaritan gave just that. He fell at Jesus feet.
Jesus knew the hearts of those He ministered to. I’m pretty sure He wasn’t surprised to see only one man come back to offer praise and thanksgiving. But He commented on it anyway. “Were not tem men cleansed? Where are the nine?” (verse 17). Jesus remarked in the hearing of all that the only one giving praise to God was the foreigner. The other nine showed yet another example of how Jesus’ own countrymen rejected Him. They were more than willing to accept His miracles, but they didn’t want any part of the rest of His mission.
Jesus told the one man who returned to Him that his faith had made him whole. We know they all received their healing as they walked along. They believed Him and did as He commanded without seeing their desired results first. They took a step of faith when they set out for the priest. I wonder if they expected their healing on the way or if they thought it would be given to them by the priest. Their willingness to act on Jesus’ directions, in spite of what they still saw is what Jesus said made them whole. I’m certain that the directions coming from Jesus Himself was a lot easier to trust in than words coming from any other source.
Father God, You ARE worthy of praise! Jesus, You didn’t have to do any of what You did. You could have walked out at any moment, but You chose to offer Yourself in our place anyway. You deserve eternal praise! I don’t ever want to take Your miracles for granted or treat Your miracles as “part of Your job.” I am unworthy of Your hand in my life, yet You still chose to move in my life anyway. Thank You! All glory, honor and praise belong to You!