Summary: There are certain things that parents try to teach their children as they are growing up. And we usually focus on two things. Their actions and their words.
“An Attitude of Gratitude”
There are certain things that parents try to teach their children as they are growing up. And we usually focus on two things. Their actions and their words. Their manners. We taught our children to say “yes sir” and “no sir,” “yes ma’am no ma’am.” Please and of course thank you. Rudyard Kipling was one of the most successful writers in history. As a result he made a great deal of money from his books. A reporter once came to him and said, Mr. Kipling, I’ve heard that someone calculated that the money you make from your books comes out to over $100 a word. He said, here’s $100; now give me one of your hundred dollar words. Kipling folded the hundred and said okay I will give you one. Thanks.
In this passage Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem. As he comes into the village he is greeted by 10 men who all had leprosy. Luke points out to us that to get to Jerusalem Jesus passed between Samaria and Galilee and he does that for specific reason. The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans-there was a cultural wall between them, a cultural difference like racism that kept them apart. Yet Jesus, a Jew walks right through the area because to him there is no difference. As Paul said, there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ exactly as it should be. And in this group of lepers we quickly find out that at least one of them was a Samaritan. And even though Samaritans and Jews did not mix together in that day, there he was. And the reason was simple.
They shared a common misfortune. Leprosy was one of the most dreaded and also misunderstood diseases of that day. This terrible disease called leprosy had broken down these racial barriers. You see in their tragedy they had forgotten they were Jews and they were Samaritans and realize they were all men with a great need. And the need which they shared in common was greater than their differences. This is actually the solution for racism... To recognize that none of us is greater/better than anyone else and all of us share a common need.
It has been noticed in areas where flooding is prevalent that when wild animals are present; these may be animals that are enemies but because they share a common need-the fact that they need to get the higher ground, when they get to higher ground rather than attacking each other they simply stand on the mountain in peace. At any other time they would do their best to kill each other. Instead, they come together in peace because of this common need.
Now the lepers stood at a distance. They were required to do so. When a leper would enter a city he was required to wear a Bell around his neck, like a necklace and must ring the bell and shout unclean, so that others would be sure and stay away from them. Can you imagine how that felt? One law stated that they could not get within 150 feet of a healthy person. The only ones they could get close to where those with the same disease. Not even any contact with their families.
We notice they had to raise their voices in order to be heard, shouting Jesus, Master have mercy on us. You see this need they shared in common brought them to a common solution and his name was Jesus. The doctors didn’t know how to treat them, the law said just stay away from them so they lived a life of isolation worse than anything you and I can possibly imagine.
So every time Jesus is confronted with the need; blindness, sickness, death, lame, death; He met the need. Look what he does here—he sends all of them to the priest. And this is unusual but look—while they were going they were cleansed. For Jesus it was important that they do something. When Jesus healed someone he might tell them to wash their eyes water or to put mud into their eyes or some other action... On this day it was to go to the priest and while they were going they were cleansed. As far as we know, Jesus never touch them. Yet they were healed. All 10 of them.
One of them, when he sees that he is healed— as his skin began to look normal and the sores are gone, he returns and with a loud voice he gives glory to God.
Verse 16. So Luke points out that this was a Samaritan who had a problem with Jews and vice versa yet he was so thankful—the differences were suddenly of no consequence and he fell at the feet of Jesus and simply said, thank you. Now Jesus didn’t heal the leper so he would say thank you but I do think Jesus appreciated it. Did your mom ever tell you to mind your manners? Remember to say thank you? I’m guessing that if this guy’s mother were anywhere close by she would have been proud that day because her son had learned to say thank you. Jesus takes note that he is the only one who says thank you. And in verse 17 he lets us know again that this person is a Samaritan. The rest went on their way. Hard to imagine. I like to think that in all the excitement they had other things that just seemed more important. Got to go tell my family, got to go show my friends. But our focus is on this one. And the Bible says his faith was enough to save him. Apparently there is a connection between gratitude and salvation. And as he went on his way I imagine he told everyone. I’m guessing the others did as well.