Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.
I feel like Luke while writing this bit must have been listening to Brittany Spears, Oops I Did It Again.
I can almost imagine the scene in my mind’s eye as Luke is sitting with one of the Apostles and interviewing them for his gospel:
“So, Matthias, what can you tell me about that Jesus was traveling between the border between Samaria and Galilee…”
Then something like this happened…
Can you picture it in your head? Can you hear the other disciple explaining to Luke about the ten lepers and only one showed back up with any kind of gratitude and that one was a Samaritan? A dirty, rotten, stinkin’, filthy Samaritan. We assume that the other nine may have been Jews since this one was singled out, but it very well could have been more of a mix of people. But that doesn’t matter, because the point is that a Samaritan returned to give thanks for his healing.
This is something that, once again, would not compute. It would have hit them like a ton of bricks.
Why didn’t the other 9 return?
I think we can posit a million different possibilities. But, perhaps at the core of the situation they simply weren’t thankful. Perhaps they were so hurt by the reality of being lepers and the community that left them to die, that they were simply not grateful for the gift of healing.
Perhaps the Samaritan was the only one who noticed what had happened. Maybe he was the only one who was paying attention to what was going on and how God had healed.
While we could do a post-mortem on the story, I think what’s best for us to remember is that God is at work. The question becomes, will we see God working? Are we so focused on ourselves, our problems, our worry, our pain, our issues, our world, to miss the ways that God is at work in us, through us, and around us?
It turns out that keeping a “Gratitude Journal” is one of the most powerful things you can do to retrain your brain to see the world differently. Many psychologists are now recommending that folks to write down three or four things each night that they grateful for from the day.
What acknowledging gratitude does is it makes us aware of the good. The bad is too easy to latch on to. We don’t even have to think about the bad, it’s just there. But, the good, that’s a different story. Too many of us go through life like the 9 lepers, healing and beauty all around us and we miss it.
Take some time today and just look around.
Where are you seeing the healing and beauty in life?
Comment on this post and let’s celebrate together!
Audio: Knee Jerk Devotional Podcast