Although there are probably as many differences as there are similarities, as Victorians, we can start to imagine how those with leprosy in Jesus’ day must have felt. Isolated and stigmatised. Separated from friends and loved ones. Abandoned and frustrated.
Of course their plight back then was far worse than our difficulties today (for most of us, anyway). Isolation for them meant complete separation from everyone, except fellow sufferers. It was their responsibility to keep their distance and cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!” when anyone came near. And there was no cure, no foreseeable end in sight, barring God’s miraculous intervention.
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled 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!” – Luke 17:11-13
Would Jesus help them? Could he? Of course, he could and he did. When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. (verse 14)
What a moment! We can only imagine their joy. Can it be true? Are we really healed? I’m sure they checked their skin as they hurried to the see the priest. No sign of leprosy! Would the priest confirm it? And when he did: relief and excitement. Now we can return to our families. We can resume employment; no more begging, relying on the charity of others. Now we can return to worship in the synagogue!
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. (verses 15, 16)
Only one? Hear the sadness, the disappointment in Jesus’ voice: “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (verses 17, 18)
I’d like to think that if I’d been one of the ten men healed that day, I would have joined my Samaritan friend in acknowledging God’s goodness and mercy. I hope I would. It’s easy to let circumstances distract us. You and I have been healed of a disease far worse than leprosy. We’ve been restored to our heavenly Father; welcomed home and reinstated as valued members of his family. Are we grateful? How will we express our gratitude today?
PRAYER: Father, we are grateful! Forgive us our distractions! Forgive us for those times when we grumble and complain. Remind us afresh of all it means to be your child and heir to the glories of your kingdom. May our lives today be a true reflection of the gratitude we feel when we look beyond our current circumstances to the eternal blessings that are ours, because of your love, mercy and grace. Amen
SONG: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n_BPn5BxH4