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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.” Luke 17:17-19

‘He was a Samaritan.’

Only the most bigoted person would be able to grasp the full meaning of this simple phrase. To say the Jews hated the Samaritans would be far too soft of a statement. Self-respecting Jews would have nothing to do with Samaritans socially, religiously or in business transactions. People going from Galilee to Judea would do whatever they could to go around Samaria or travel through it very quickly.

The Samaritans had mutual feelings for the Jews. It was a hatred that went deep to the soul.

Funny how adversity can bring even the most hated enemies together though. As Jesus traveled the borderland of Galilee and Samaria he came to a village that must have been very close to the border. The group of lepers that approached him we most likely Jewish, except for one. Somehow, for whatever reason, the group of ‘walking dead’ had bonded. Now, as a last ditch effort, the group approached this Jewish teacher and begged to be healed.

There was absolutely no reason on earth that the Samaritan should be healed by Jesus. He was an outcast. He didn’t believe the same way as Jesus, in our society it might be best described by saying he was from a different denomination. Still, Jesus reached out to him.

It really should be no surprise that he would do that. He reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to the woman in Tyre. Jesus’ main ministry was to his Jewish brothers and sisters, but he wasn’t above reaching out to others.

He still does that today. We sit in our warm, comfy sanctuaries and thank God for all he’s given us, but do we really realize the extent of his reaching out? Do we fall to our knees as the Samaritan did and cling to him realizing the death sentence we lived under has been removed?

Ten men were healed of the terrible physical disease of leprosy that day. Ten men went home that night to restart life with loving family members. Ten men once again became members of a society that had branded them as outcasts. Only one went home with a healed soul.

We seek to heal our outsides in hopes that the healing will satisfy our soul. The tenth leper found that the only true healing comes from the inside out.

That’s why I’m thankful this morning. Like the leper, I was far from God. Things I’ve done had separated me from God and from others. Jesus never looks at what a person has done, he only looks as what he can do for that person and he freed me from the load of guilt, shame and embarrassment. All because he loves me.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I too fall on my knees before you in humble adoration and praise for all you have done for me. Others may still look down on me. Others may still criticize and doubt me, but you know my heart. Thank you for healing me. Amen.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Luke 6:35 (NCV)

Ten lepers approached Jesus one day (Luke 17). There’s more to the story than what is just written in Luke’s account of the gospel. Lepers were forbidden to approach anyone. Those who got close to lepers were considered unclean. But Jesus took a chance on them, he told them to go to the priest and show themselves to him. On the way they were miraculously healed. Only one of the men returned to thank Jesus for all he’d done.

So, what happened to the other nine? We aren’t told but I think I know. They went on their way, just like 90% of the people you may know who never think to say thank you. In God’s kingdom he doesn’t expect anything from those who he shows grace too. We can’t earn his favor, nor can we repay him once we’ve accepted the gift of healing. The only thing we can do is what the one leper did; we can praise God for his free gift.

How does that relate to our lives as Christ-followers? It’s human nature to gravitate towards those who treat us kindly. We may do favors for people with no expectation of return, but we are far more likely to continue to give to those who give back in some way. It’s draining to always give and never get anything, even a thank you, in return. Yet that is precisely what Jesus teaches us to do. Lend with no expectation of being repaid. Notice the wording. Lending implies repayment by its very definition. If repayment isn’t expected it’s not lending, it’s giving.

That’s what grace is all about. Giving with no expectation of return. Grace is being kind to others when you know that they won’t show any gratitude and may even return your kindness with abuse.

Yet another dichotomy in the life of the believer. Giving grace to the undeserving. But grace by definition is showing kindness when it’s not deserved and will never be returned. Your Father did that for you when he sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross. He extended kindness to you when he knew you were undeserving and could never repay him. Yet he reached out to you in spite of yourself.

How can you show grace to someone today? It can’t be done in your own power. It can’t be done with expectation of gratitude or reward. In fact, the opposite is true. Showing grace to those who don’t deserve it is the best way to show Jesus to those who need him.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the example you gave us of the lepers. They were completely unable to repay you for the grace and healing to offered them, yet you healed them. Most of them were ungrateful, yet you gave with no expectation of reward. Empower me with your Spirit to show that kind of grace to those who need the forgiveness and healing only you can give. Amen.

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