13 October 2019
As Jesus was travelling in the border area between Galilee and Samaria, he met a group of ten men (Luke 17:11-19). They were a mixed group of Jews and Samaritans who, in normal life, would not associate with each other. But these men were united by a shared problem; they had a skin disease which classified them as unclean and outcasts. Jesus was notorious for going against the norms of his society, frequently mixing with those whom others shunned. Also, in many cases where he healed “unclean” people he actually touched them – to the horror of the religious leaders of the day. This incident was different. The men clearly recognised Jesus and called out to him to help them, expecting him to come over, lay his hands on them and use his God-given power to restore them to health and cleanness. Instead, Jesus kept his distance and told them to go and let the priests examine them. They weren’t expecting that! It would mean going back to their towns and being humiliated by the taunts and abuse of their people. Yet they must have trusted Jesus because they did as he asked. As they went they realised they had been healed and, having been given the “all clear” by the priests, would be able to pick up their lives again. They must have been overjoyed but only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank Jesus. Ungrateful lot! Perhaps – but let us not condemn them without considering our own lives. We can be too ready to moan when things don’t suit us but how often do we acknowledge someone’s encouraging word or kind deed? We all have many things for which we should be grateful (some may even be life changing) but how often do we say “Thank you” to other people – or to God?