I hope that the way I have written this does not come across as totally disjointed and confusing. I just had to write it as I felt led to do. I hope you will enjoy it and maybe be inspired – at least little.
Luke 17:11-19 (NLT) “As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ He looked at them and said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And Jesus said to the man, ‘Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.’”
I find this story interesting because there are a few details that are not stated that are a bit puzzling to me. They may be totally irrelevant, but I tend to be curious about “irrelevant” things at times.
Because there was a great deal of friction between the Jews and the Samaritans, when a Jew was traveling south toward Samaria, they would cross the Jordan River and travel southward through Decapolis and/or Perea until they could cross back over the Jordan River into Judea, avoiding going into Samaria at all – and vice-versa, of course. (I think the map shown below will help some with the understanding.)
We are told in this passage from Luke that Jesus was heading toward Jerusalem (which was in Judea – south of Samaria.) It states that He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria, then goes on to say that He “entered a village there.” So where is “there”? It does not tell us that. Did He cross into Samaia and stop at a village? That would not at all be the typical behavior for a Jew. But, I have to say, based on the rest of the story, that seems as though it could be the logical answer.
The story then tells us that ten men with leprosy were crying out to Him for mercy. (How did they recognize Him and know about His healing powers?) Jesus, having mercy on them, gave them directions of what to do, telling them to go to the priests, apparently to show themselves so that they could officially be declared healed. They did not question or doubt Him; they just headed off to see the priests and along the way their leprosy disappeared. “And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.” That means that when they first turned to leave and follow Jesus’ directions they still had leprosy – they were stepping out in faith believing they would be healed – simply obeying.
We find out later in the passage that one of the men returned to give thanks to Jesus and it specifically states “This man was a Samaritan.” Since he was in a group of ten, can we assume that they were all Samaritans? I do not know – Jesus questions about why, when He had healed ten that only one “foreigner” had returned to give glory to God for his healing.
But, regardless of how many were Samaritans – one or ten or something in between – we are shown that Jesus’ mercy was not only for the Jews but for “foreigners” as well. His love and mercy has no bounds – it is for everyone. That has not ended, it is a truth that remains fact today.
Okay, so only one of the ten returned to thank and worship Jesus for the healing. When we receive blessings from God, are we like the nine that went on their merry way enjoying their good fortune? Do we just move on with our life; or, do we stop to give thanks and glory to God for His goodness toward us? I would hope that I will always be like the one, but I am certain that many times I neglect to express my gratitude as I should, behaving like the other nine.
I have expressed all of my curiosities and given a few historical details all to build up to saying this: It is the time of year when our thoughts especially turn to being thankful. I believe it is good that we have a specific time in our year that makes us focus on all the goodness that we have to be thankful for in our lives. However, we need to be mindful daily of all that is right with our lives and all for which we have to be grateful. Yes, we have a lot of issues to deal with, problems that really need to be ironed out in order to be totally at peace; but, we need to learn to put our trust where it should be, and that is with God. Never forget – He is still in control.
So, with all the turmoil we have experienced this year, it would be easy to focus on that and forget all the good that is still around us every day. We should never forget to look at all the things for which we should be thankful. On this coming Thursday – our national celebration of Thanksgiving – try to take time to focus on what is good and what is right in your life. Turn your eyes to God and thank Him, giving Him all the Glory!
To close, here’s a thought for the day – A couple of days ago I heard something on the Christian radio station I was listening to and it just stayed with me, so I think it is appropriate to share it here on this day.
What if…you woke up tomorrow with only the things you had thanked God for today?
Written by Karran Martin – November 2, 2020