Where are the nine?

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

This story so engages me. What would it have been like to have been traveling with Christ and witness this spectacle? Can you imagine Jesus yelling back and forth with these lepers? Each one of the lepers obeyed his command to "Go and show yourselves to the priests" and it could be argued that the one who came back never got to a priest. What was it in the foreigner that stopped before getting to the priest? What caused him to quickly return but not the others?

Could it be that this lone Samaritan embraced the spirit of the law rather than the letter of it that commanded that a cleansed leper show himself to a priest? Could it be that he understood that praise and thankfulness were of a higher law than the Levitical law? Jesus seemed pleased that this man esteemed this form of worship higher than the other. Perhaps we would do well in our everyday lives to understand that God desires thanks more than following the rules?

Open my eyes to the many things I have to be thankful for Lord. Help me to be one who follows the higher law.

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