11-12: "Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him." - Leprosy was a disease that ostracized its victims from society. These men would not have been allowed to approach anyone without loud shouts and the ringing of bells to alert them of their disease. Leprosy was considered to be a disease that came as a result of extreme sinful behavior. It would have been expected of Jesus to walk clear of these men and have nothing to do with them.
14: "When He saw them, He said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed." - The priests would have to authenticate their healing before they would be allowed to reenter society.
15: "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice." - This Samaritan, despised and shunned by the Israelites, recognized the source of his blessings and shouted praise to God.
17-18: "Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?'" - Only one despised and lowly foreigner found it important to show gratitude for the blessings he had received.
19: "Then He said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'" - Already healed of his sickness, he now became healed for eternity because of his belief and faith in God.
Points to Contemplate:
Whom do you shun?
Is there a group of people or type of illness that you despise and with which you avoid contact? Do people of other races or religions earn your scorn simply because of the color of their skin or where they live? Do you look down upon people with certain diseases or aliments and utter comments that they must have done something wrong to deserve such punishment? Does this sound like old biases that modern society has overcome? How about Aids? Would you embrace and invite an Aids patient into your home? Or do you avoid contact and are filled with condemnation when you hear of their plight? Would you choose a seat on an airplane next to a person of Mid-eastern descent, possibly wearing robes or turbans? How would Jesus act in these modern-day situations? Is He asking you to set aside these types of biases and prejudices?
Are you taking your blessings for granted? Do you feel that you deserve everything God provides and have you come to expect that certain things will be provided? The nine men departed from our story as Jesus instructed. They were most likely very happy with their luck. When you are feeling lucky or when God's blessings seemingly flow upon you in torrents, do you take at least one moment to thank God for what He as provided? Or do you walk off into the sunset counting your blessings and rejoicing at your well-deserved luck?
Has your faith made you well? Does this seem like an odd statement for Jesus to make? He had cured all ten lepers and nothing about faith was mentioned as a prerequisite to their healing. What is different about this tenth man? What "extra" blessing has he received and why? What "extra" blessing is God pouring into your life because of your faith? Do you see from this story that God richly blesses your life even when you do not deserve it? Does it show how much farther He is willing to go when you begin turning to Him with praise, thanksgiving, and love? Are you ready to receive the full richness of love He has available for you? Promises of the Gospel:
The lesson Jesus provides in this parable extends beyond the importance of simple gratitude. He first holds a mirror before us in order to look at the assumptions, biases, and prejudices that we tend to make about other people in the world. He is calling us to breakdown those walls of preconception and extend the healing grace that God is offering to all people. Then He shows us that we receive an abundance of blessings from God regardless if we are deserving or have proven our faithfulness. Everyone is richly blessed. However, when we stop and praise Him, when we reach to the heavens with songs of thanksgiving, and when we show the world the extent of His love, then our faith makes us well for eternity.