No matter our situation, praise for God should always be a priority.
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’
14 When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19 Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’
This story is quite a departure from the usual tales of Jesus healing people. Normally, it goes something like this: someone comes to Jesus asking to be healed, Jesus commends them for their faith, and then they go off and praise God. While it starts off the same, the tale of healing ends quite differently. Only one man out of ten, the Samaritan, returns to give praise to God.
What were the other men thinking? Maybe they didn’t realise that Jesus was the one that had healed them? Or maybe they were ashamed for some reason? Or maybe they were just so overjoyed at being made well that they forgot all about Jesus. It’s definitely a life-changing event, and there would have been lots of things to do. Once they showed themselves to the priest and proved they were clean, their whole way of living would have changed. No longer outcasts, they would have had to find work, a place to live, maybe reconnect with their families. All very important things to do! But still, their priorities were out of order. Because leprosy, as awful as it is, wouldn’t be the only problem, or even the biggest problem, in the lives of these men. While their bodies were healed, they could still have diseases of the soul.
Just like in the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the story about the woman at the well, once again, the Samaritan, the foreigner, is showing up the locals by reacting in the correct way. And to think, just moments ago, he was in the exact same boat as the other nine.
Head: Can you think of a time you acted like the first nine men, or when you acted like the Samaritan?
Heart: What kind of things would lead you away from praising God?
Hands: What’s one thing you can do to prioritise praising God this week?
Prayer: Lord, we praise you. We praise you when we are sick. We praise you when we are healthy. We praise you when we grieve. We praise you when we are joyful. We praise you when we are faithful, and when our faith falters. Send us your Spirit, so we can continue to praise you. Amen.
A song to listen to: This is Amazing Grace
Living Church Creek Road