Summary: 10 lepers were healed but only one returned. Are we part of the nine, or are we the One? Those who truly worship and serve the Lord are few in number compared to the many who are blessed.
Where Are the Nine?
Sunday, March 8, 2015
By Rev. James May
The time was drawing near for Jesus to pay the price of our sin upon the cross. Yet even in his last days upon the earth, Jesus never lost purpose in everything that he did. His mind was never so preoccupied with the things that he was going to have to face in a short time that he forgot to focus in on the moment.
The Bible tells us not to be overly concerned or worried about what may happen tomorrow. We are living in the last days and it’s easy to get focused on what the future may bring, but we can get so caught up in looking for the Rapture and watching the fulfilling of prophecy that we forget to focus in on what’s important right now, today, this very hour! How many blessings; how many opportunities for ministry; and how many souls might be neglected while we focus too much on going home to be with Jesus?
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover for the last time on this earth! His journey with his disciples was just about over.
Most mortal men would be far more concerned with their own cares of life and their own problems, knowing that the hour of their death was drawing near. But Jesus never lost sight of the “Now” and he seized every moment to meet the needs of others. He saw all men as lost sheep, and while he knew that he was the Son of God, very God in the flesh; he also knew that men were eternal beings without hope and without a future. Jesus would be raised from the dead, but what about these mortal human beings who would never be raised to new life without Christ?
Jesus could never miss an chance to meet their needs! The compassion, love, mercy and love for man was always at the forefront of everything that Jesus did!
Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
Everywhere Jesus went, he went with a purpose. To the casual observer of the day, it may have seemed that Jesus was just a wanderer without any specific plan or goal in mind because his path often led into places where most Jews wouldn’t go, and his ministry carried him to every part of Israel, even into areas where any “good” Jew wouldn’t go. There was a lot of prejudice among the Jews. The nation was divided between Jews in the south and Jews in the north in the area of Samaria.
The Samaritans occupied the area that once belonged to the tribes of Ephraim and the half of Manasseh. The capital city of the region was Samaria, which had once been a large and splendid city. When the Jews were carried away into captivity to Assyria, the king of Assyria sent people from four different idolatrous nations to inhabit Samaria. These foreign idolaters intermarried with the Jewish population that was still in and around Samaria.
These foreigners at first worshipped the idols of their own nations, but being troubled with lions, they supposed it was because they had not honored the God of that territory, so a Jewish priest was sent to them from Assyria to instruct them in how to observe the Jewish religion. They were taught the Law of Moses but they mixed Judaism with their own idol worship and corrupted the religion of the Jews.
Because of the unlawful marriages between Jews and idol worshippers, and their corruption of the Jewish religion, the rest of the Jews considered anyone who lived in Samaria as “half-breeds” who were to be despised and rejected as heretics.
In addition to all of this, the Samaritans were considered to be rebellious because they had tried to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple under Nehemiah.
The Samaritan were not allowed to worship in the temple in Jerusalem because of their idolatry, so the Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim and claimed that Moses gave them authority to build it and that it was the only place to worship; not in Jerusalem. Sanballat, who had opposed Nehemiah so strongly, had set up his own son-in-law, Manasses, as the Samaritan High Priest. That really ruffled the feathers of the High Priest in Jerusalem. There could only be one true High Priest, and only one true temple; and the Jews of the 10 tribes in the south claimed it had to be in Jerusalem; not the outlaw country of Samaria.
In time, the region of Samaria became a safe haven for all of the outlaws that came out of Judea to the south. The Samaritans welcomed these criminals and refugees who had violated the laws of the Jewish religion and had been excommunicated according to the Law of Moses. That really fueled the flames of hatred and division, and no faithful Jew would be caught dead speaking to a Samaritan after that. The Samaritans were animals, nothing more than dogs in their opinion.