Choose Wisely

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

Gospel – November 13, 2019 – Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

As we begin to finish up Luke I always get a little sad. He is our – The Gentiles – Apostle after all. So when he spoke about Jesus and the lessons it was always with the Gentiles in mind.

Like today. Jesus said time after time that he came for the Jews. But time after time the Jews disappointed him with their hard hearts. All the while, the Gentiles and Jewish/Gentile hybrids (Samaritans) were eager to hear his word and learn from him. They hungered for what Jesus wanted to give to the Jews. Is it any wonder that Jesus and the Apostles eventually welcomed – and used the Gentiles – in his ministry and lessons to the Jews?

Today there are 10 lepers, 9 Jews and 1 Samaritan. As you can tell from my introduction this is likely not going to end well for the Jews.

As Jesus enters the village the 10 lepers stand off at a distance (as prescribed) and they call out to Jesus, “Have pity on us!” And he does. (He’s Jesus)

Jesus did most of his healing through touch but this time he simply tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. Because he knew they were healed because he willed it and by Mosaic law they had to show themselves to the priests to be declared clean.

While they were on their way to the priests they saw they were cleansed of their leprosy. Obviously, they were all overjoyed and I can imagine how they must have felt. Nine went on to the priests to be declared clean.

Only one recognized what had just happened. That the Kingdom of God was truly at hand. He chose the better part and went immediately “glorifying God in a loud voice” and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. It was not one of the Jews but rather the Samaritan. Jesus raised him up and sent him on to live his life telling him “your faith has saved you.”

All of the 10 could have gone to the priests at any time to be declared clean. Only one chose to thank the one who cleansed him first.

We’re all guilty of at sometime taking a great gift for granted. We don’t show appreciation to the giver. We become so consumed with ourselves that we lose sight of what has happened. In other words, we are the Jews in this instance.

Today’s Gospel message to me, at least, is that we really need to stop taking things for granted. We need to remember we don’t have a right to anything. Only through His Grace do we receive. We choose the law or we choose God.

Choose wisely.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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