“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.’”
– Luke 17:11-19
Almost on a daily basis, the Lord delivers me from harm as I negotiate the streets of Nassau. It seems like everybody is in a great hurry to go nowhere. They will run you over if you are not paying attention.
Just this past week I was almost ran over by a big truck, and days later, by a reckless police car. The truck just came out of the corner without stopping. I had to pull into someone’s yard to keep from being ran over. The police car pulled from behind a huge truck and came into my lane without any caution. Again, I had to pull to the side of the road and just missed hitting a lamp pole. For this delivery, I say thanks to God.
In the above text, Jesus healed 10 lepers. They were outcasts from society.
During the time of Jesus, leprosy was a seriously contagious disease. Consequently, anyone who contracted the disease had to live outside of the community, away from family and friends.
By law, lepers were required to cry out to passersby, informing them that lepers were in the area. The text states that they stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
Immediately, Jesus heard their cry and gave them relief. When we go to the Lord in prayer, he hears us and he does give us relief. Even if a cure does not come, he blesses us with endurance to bear our burdens.
There were 10 lepers who were healed. Subsequent to healing them, Jesus instructed them to go to the high priest so that he could declare them clean and permit them to re-enter the community.
Scripture tells us in Leviticus 13:16-17, “If the raw flesh changes and turns white, they must go to the priest. The priest is to examine them, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; then they will be clean.”
According to the Mosaic Law, all persons with contagious diseases had to be examined by the priest who declared them clean and permissible to return to the community.
These useless men who had been separated from their families were made whole and given a new lease on life. Jesus gave new life. They were able to return to their communities and become productive citizens, once again. Yet, they did not think appreciatively of the blessing which they had received.
I say thanks to our God for having brought us through that ferocious hurricane, Dorian. Our brothers and sisters on Abaco and Grand Bahama did not fare too well. There has been some loss of life and many personal possessions have been destroyed. Yet, we should be thankful for God’s blessings to us.
I am aware that many who remain in those islands and some of those who have been relocated to New Providence get the feeling of desertion and hopelessness. No one likes to feel helpless and without hope. However, be patient and stay in prayer. A disaster of this magnitude is new to us all. Change for the good will come, even though it may seem to be a bit lengthy.
Change takes time. I am sure that those lepers felt some hopelessness before they met Jesus. He heard their cry and gave them relief. He will hear your cry also. We serve a living, loving and merciful God.
The text tells us that of the 10 who were healed, only one returned to say thanks. Ten people given new life and only one was appreciative of his blessing. He returned to say thanks to Jesus.
The most disappointing part about this was that the one who returned to say thanks was a foreigner. He was a Samaritan whom the Jews considered below them. Yet, he, a pagan, had the good sense to say thanks to God.
God’s blessings are new every day. Therefore, we should be thankful for the air that we breathe. God heard the cries of the hopeless lepers. In time, God will come to your rescue and give you the relief which you so desperately seek. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.