But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown at His feet, thanking Him. And he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16
Circumstances can make for strange bed fellows. There was a group of guys who hung together–ten of them in fact. Truth be known in another world they would have never been friends. Nine of the guys were Jewish and one was a Samaritan. They lived on opposite sides of the tracks. The Jewish guys would have been raised to believe that the Samaritans were “less than” and the Samaritan would have been raised to believe that all Jews were “better than you” temple goers. Like oil and gas, they wouldn’t have mixed. Leprosy changed all that.
We are not told how, who knows, but they contracted leprosy or the walking death. Their lives were reduced to isolation and suspicion. If you’ve been to Walmart without a mask, you might know some of how they felt. They were forced to live away, far away, and proclaim their uncleanness to anyone they met. The fact that nine were Jews and one was a Samaritan just didn’t matter anymore.
Well, one day something happened. Luke 17:11-17 tells us Jesus was walking along and He heard this group hollering. They were saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” We aren’t told how they knew of Jesus or why they believed He could change their lives. All we do know is that they somehow believed and hollered. And Jesus answered.
Over the distance he hollers back, “Go show yourselves to the priest.” There was not a pronouncement of healing. There was only a command to trust. They found themselves at the crossroads of reality and faith. They looked at their diseased bodies and weighed it against faith. A step toward the priest meant they believed. To stand where they were meant “nope.” Well, “hope” beat out “nope” and off they went.
As they took the first step–and the one after that–amazingly they were healed. You could hear the whooping and hollering across the wilderness. Man, were they happy. They were free and they were outta there. Fading in the dust was the Master who had set them free. But wait. One of them is coming back. It is the Samaritan–the unlikely one. He falls down at the feet of the freedom giver and gives Him thanks and praise. He was the unlikely one, and the only one, who gets it right.
Jesus wonders, “Weren’t there ten of these guys?” Weren’t nine of them good Jewish boys?” He was impressed that this “foreigner” came back to say thanks and I think he gets a second helping. Jesus says, “Go your way, your faith has healed you.” I think the Samaritan dude got healed of leprosy and a relationship with the Healer. He got more–way more.
I think there are two things we need to pack away from this story. First, the Jesus who became your BFF (that’s best friend forever) during this mess wants to be your BFF after the mess. The One who took care of your fears and anxieties during the storm wants to take care of them after the storm. He wants to be your Savior, your Redeemer, your Rescuer, not for a while but forever.
Linked to that is this idea of gratitude. When the nine were set free they left Jesus in the dust, “adios,” see you later. They were thankful for the moment but not the minutes following. The Samaritan, however, came back. He was determined not to forget what Jesus had done for him. He did the right thing, the wise thing, but probably not the popular thing.
What are you doing when “this” is all over? Are you gonna run as fast as you can to a life crammed with busy and stuff? Or are you going remember the One who stood by your side and spoke to your heart? As rumors circulate of life returning to normal, the noise of life will get louder and louder. Over the din, plan now not to forget the One who whispered, “Rest in Me” and “I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne