Summary: When given a miracle of healing, the mind and heart must also be healed
In this Gospel, we see Jesus traveling between Samaria and Galilee. This was frontier-land and could be dangerous; lots of unsavory characters roamed the roads and waylaid the travelers. Jesus deliberately went this way to seek out the lepers, as the scripture says ‘for he found those that sight him not.’
Leprosy was considered an unclean disease, and those suffering from it knew enough to keep themselves away for other people. They were the most outcast of the outcast. So when they saw Jesus approach, they remained at a distant but cried out to Jesus ‘Master, have mercy on us’. They did not ask to be cured, but only to have Jesus show mercy on them. They had heard stories of Jesus and thought he might help them.
Jesus told them to go to the priest responsible for inspecting the lepers. Now, they all knew they had leprosy and I am sure that some of them thought this was a useless journey. But the all followed Jesus’ instructions and presented themselves to the priest. As they traveled to the priest, they became cured of the leprosy.
But one of the lepers, having realized where his cure had come from, turned back the way he had come to meet Jesus. He knew where the cure had come from and wanted to thank Jesus and glorify God’s name. You see, this man was a Samaritan – someone who was by birth an outcast among the outcasts. The Jews thought the Samaritans were the lowest of all people and would not have normally associated with them.
Eventually the lepers saw the priest and were declared clean. They were cured of the leprosy, but not healed of their dis-ease.
Often times, we are shown mercy by God and don’t think to praise him for his goodness. We often find it is the least expected that appreciate the saving grace; those who may not be raised in the church and Jesus’ teachings.
The Samaritan, but going back and thanking Jesus was made whole again. . . in other words healed, not just cured of the disease. He had the faith in this man Jesus and his faith made him whole. Not only did the Samaritan receive the blessing of a cure of his leprosy, but was doubly blessed because he saw Jesus and knew that he was the Son of God. Jesus’ mercy was two-fold: one in the curing of the disease and again when the Samaritan praised God.
Do we remember to praise God for the little miracles that happen to us every day?
Or do we just note them and go on about our daily lives?
Are we the cured Jews or a whole Samaritan?
Delivered at Lindley Assisted Living Center, Athens, OH; 14 October 2007