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ONE OUT OF TEN



 

Imagine life in a first-century leper colony. The smell of death and decay hung heavy in the air. Everyone was suffering. Everyone was sad. Even together, everyone was alone.

 

Some of the newcomers were still strong, but they were the most fearful. Their feelings of isolation and betrayal left them angry. Others were nearer to death. These were resigned to their fate. Hope was only a distant memory.

 

Some of the citizens of this ever-growing, ever-dying community were from poor families. Others now plowed their fields and tended their flocks. Other lepers had been landowners, business owners, merchants. Rich and poor, young and old, Jew and Samaritan… Leprosy was an equal-opportunity nightmare.

 

While Jesus was making His final trip to Jerusalem, He encountered ten lepers. “They stood at a distance and raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ ” (Luke 17:12-13). They had obviously heard that Jesus had healed others who suffered a similar plight. He had cured other lepers. “Have mercy on us,” they begged!

 

Jesus didn’t touch them. He didn’t ask their names. He didn’t ask if they were Jewish or Samaritan. He just told them, “ ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And while they were going, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14).

 

One of the ten raced back and, “with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown at his feet, thanking him” (Luke 17:15-16). Luke then adds one more important detail concerning the thankful ex-leper. “He was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:16), an unworthy, unloved, half-Jew, half-Assyrian.

 

With kindness and compassion, Jesus said, “get up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you” (Luke 17:19).

 

Ten lepers were physically healed. Apparently only one leper was eternally saved… by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.

 

“… think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV).




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