Our Return


        Aren't you grateful for thankful people? I gravitate toward people who do not feel like they are entitled to anything. There is a generation today that has this entitled attitude. It is ugly and a lie.

        An ungrateful, unthankful heart, mind or attitude creates a spirit and behavior of entitlement. Pride knows how to look out for number one and where to get the assistance but does not submit any gratitude or honor to the helper.
        Before focusing on the Ten Healed of Leprosy documented in Luke 17:11-19 allow me to introduce you Leviticus 14:1-32The proper method of cleansing from infectious skin diseases according to the Old Testament is documented in Leviticus 14:1-32. The big take away going into the main passage of study is that the priests personally knew who they were sending away outside the camp and why. The priest had to go outside the camp to aid the afflicted. Skin diseases, especially leprosy, were not only people hurting and in need of healing but recipients of excommunication, therefore becoming a social outcast. Leprosy touched the person physically, mentally and socially. 

        However, the process gave room for the possibility of healing and there were many steps for acceptance back into the camp even if this was the case ("If the person has been healed of his infectious skin disease,...").

Here is what happened in Luke 17:11-19,

Ten Healed of Leprosy
"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? 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."

        Jesus is headed to Jerusalem. He enters a "border village" - a village on the border of Samaria and Judah that would include citizens of both Jewish and Samaritan cultures. Because of their physical and social condition of leprosy, the ten men stood at a distance from the approaching Jesus and cried out to Him for help. 

        According to what the men shout, Jesus' reputation preceded Him for they recognized Him using a title and they did not directly ask for healing, they - "called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!'" Jesus did have pity on them. However, Jesus did not touch them like He touched the leper of Matthew 8:1-4. No, here it says, "When he saw them, he said...". No touching involved, only words necessary for this encounter. 

        Jesus' instructions of "Go, show yourselves to the priests." were to keep in line with The Law or Scripture mentioned earlier. To obey The Law in this regard meant they were following the correct protocol for readmittance into the city and society and they were obeying The Word of God in flesh, Jesus.

        The Luke account states, "And as they went, they were cleansed." The men were obeying The Law and Christ's instruction. The New Testament Greek word used here for "cleansed" is Katharizo, it means ceremonially clean or purified

        The Old Testament Hebrew word used for "cleansed" came in two varieties. One word used in the Hebrew was Tohorah (from Tohar). It always occurred in the context of ritual purity. It was the general word used of the process that was about to take place for the re-admittance of an individual back into society. 

        The second Hebrew word used was Taher. It meant clean , pure, innocent, and righteous. This was the more specific goal that was being acknowledged by both the priest and the healed in the ceremony. When Jesus said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests.", all that the ten needed for ritual purity (described in the Law above) was granted them in that instant that they obeyed Christ Jesus. Both meanings of the word "cleansed" were fulfilled when they obeyed Christ.

        The purpose of the purity ritual was to teach Israel Holiness of God and Righteous Living (Exodus 19:10; Leviticus 16:30; Numbers 8:15). Rituals by themselves do not guarantee purity (Isaiah 66:17; Malachi 1:7-11) and one cannot declare himself pure (Job 4:17; Proverbs 30:12), only God can cleanse sinful humanity (Jeremiah 33:8). I feel these last points were  what got through to one man in particular - the man that returned to Jesus.

        The ten men were given what they requested and needed in order to rid them of their physical disease and social shame. Scripture does not state the cultural ratio of the group, but only reports the one that returned to Jesus and fell at His feet was a "foreigner", a Samaritan. Only one man out of ten realized the source of their blessing could only come from God Himself. An Ah-Ha Moment that granted proper perspective on Blesser and Blessed, Giver and Givee, on Loved and Lover of body, mind and soul - Christ Jesus.

        First, after this kind of deliverance who would not make this kind of scene? If you have ever seen or heard the horrors of leprosy, then you know how powerful the joy was when the men were healed. Sad that only one knew how to show his excited appreciation and to whom to direct it.

        Second, this was quite a scene because the people that were supposed to be at Jesus' feet recognizing their Healer and Savior, the Jews, were not there. Instead, here is this foreigner who came acknowledging the healer, Jesus, at Christ's feet, praising and worshiping Him for this marvelous turnabout in his life. Wow at the list of things this man was thankful and grateful for toward Jesus. This man was sick with leprosy, shamefully outcast because of the disease and had always been frowned upon because he was a Samaritan (a minority, among the minorities). I imagine that's probably just the start of the list.

And then Jesus' response...

Paraphrased - Did I not answer their request? (emphasis on I) Because He said, "Were not all ten cleansed?"

Paraphrased - I don't like these stats! 
Because He said, "Where are the other nine?"

Paraphrased - Of all the people to have returned and given praise the Jews would have been a good start. 
Because He said, "Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

        Sozo is the Greek word for well. It means to be made whole from physical disease or infirmity. The obedience of the Samaritan granted him the right-standing with God through The Law, but the faith that it took to activate his healing through Christ granted him revelation of the source of his healing. 

        Therefore, paraphrased, Jesus says, you may get up and leave; your choice to believe who healed you and your choice to believe who I Am has granted you a bonus, it has made your body complete or whole. Because He said, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

        We should return to God with thunderous praise ("praising God in a loud voice"), fall at Jesus' feet in prayer ("He threw himself at Jesus' feet") and thank Him ("and thanked him") whenever God blesses us in our life, which is every breath, but especially with a healing. Thanksgiving or a grateful heart helps maintain the wholeness God desires for our lives. The men were already healed, the returning Samaritan received wholeness for his appropriate response.

        Whether the return be to show the world, friends, family or yourself that Christ still cares, return. Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself up for us, making us holy and cleansing us by the washing of water through His Word (Ephesians 5:25-26). He is deserving of the recognition and His benefits He bestows are mind boggling. Not only does He heal us of our affliction but wholeness awaits Our Return.