In Luke 17:11-17 we read the story of a time when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. He had reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village, 10 lepers stood at a distance, crying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’
It is worth briefly setting out the historical context. In ancient times, lepers were the outcasts of society. They were not simply excluded; they were expected to live far away from ‘normal’ people. In addition, as they walled they had to carry a bell with them, which they would ring, whilst shouting, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’, so that those around who were not leprous could beat a hasty retreat from them. So, lepers were despised, living outside of mainstream society.
As theten lepers called out to Jesus, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ As they went, they found they had been made clean. Of the ten of them, only one returned to Jesus and offered his thanks. He came and he fell to the ground at the feet of Jesus and gave thanks. He was a Samaritan.
This story illustrates a number of points. The first point is that obedience was the key to their healing. They were told to go and show themselves to the priest. Their submission to Jesus’ command activated the healing power of God into their lives, resulting in their physical transformation.
Another key point worth noting is the fact that only one out of the ten lepers returned to give thanks. The other significant fact is that the man was a Samaritan. Anyone who knows anything about the history of Jews and Samaritans will know that Samaritans were doubly despised by Jews, and no doubt vice versa. It is reasonable to infer that the other nine lepers who were healed were not Samaritans. It was the outsider, the alien who came back to express his gratitude to Jesus.
There is another deeper lesson we can learn from this. It is the fact that the love of Jesus reaches out to the marginalised, the excluded and the outsiders of our society. Jesus’ love breaks through every kind of barrier – whether race or class.
The message of hope that comes out of this series and this particular message is that the love of Jesus is able to reach you right where you are, touch and transform your life, regardless of your condition or background. It does not matter how far out you are from the eyes of so-called normal society, Jesus loves you. Like the lepers, His love is able to reach you and change your life.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this simple prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because of Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus. Amen!’