Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:17-19 (NIV)
As Jesus is approaching a town near the border of Samaria, He is approached by ten men. They are unclean and ailing from their terrible disease. They stand at a distance to beg the Lord to heal them. So Jesus sends them off to get their second opinion that they are clean and can return to their society. As they hurry off they notice that they have been miraculously restored to health. One of them is moved by this show of compassion and the grace he has been shown. He turns himself around. He comes to Jesus. He bows before Him. He praises God for the consideration the Lord has had for him. But where are the others? Where are we?
In this story, Jesus turns His attention to this one man who came to His feet. He asks about the others who were also healed. He remarks about the curious situation. Why had none of the other nine come back to say thanks to Jesus? How come they just ran off in such a hurry to throw themselves back into society and their former lives? Who is there left to bring praise to God? Is this why the blessing of Jesus is left for this one solitary soul? Is it because he let himself be moved by what he experienced? Is hearing the blessed voice of Jesus reserved for the remarkable individual who realizes he is touched by God?
Where can we find our instruction today within this story? What is it that will speak to us through it? What will we learn as we open ourselves to hearing the word of God? Is the message that comes to us full and strong, the one which speaks of an outsider finding grace? This healed man that found favor in Jesus´ eyes was not from God´s chosen race. Does this means that there is still hope for us too? If we are not from a particular church can we too be healed and restored to God? If we are not an elder, pastor or misionary, can we still find grace in the Presence of the Lord?
Or is the thought that warms us to the Lord today, going to be a celebration over the fact that there are still individuals left who will open themselves to be moved by God? Can we rejoice to see people, no matter who they are, realize their sickness and the terrible disease which has afflicted our race? Will we be lifted up when we see how Jesus restores spiritual health which permits us to return to the Society He has prepared for us? Will we be like this blessed man who realizes the Lord´s generosity and care. Will we go directly to Him with our thanks and praise? Will we let the others all run off and focus on their earthly lives while we turn ourselves around to find Him and come near to Him? How many of us are found to have this kind of faith today? Shall we pray that we will be more than just one?
Dear Jesus, open our eyes to the sinful disease we all carry. Let us all realize our need to be restored to God. But when You give the Word and we are healed, let us be moved by the grace we are shown. Let us think of nothing else before coming unto You. Let our gratitude and our praise overwhelm us and flow out to You. Thank You for all You have done for us! Thank You for taking away the sickness which kept us from returning Home to our Lord! May You find in us more than just one who are moved, who do return to You, and who will come to God before all else!