Luke 17:11–19 (NKJV)
Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
Imagine that you’re one of ten people in intensive care with COVID-19. A doctor tries a new medicine on you and all ten of you are suddenly cured. The hospital needs the ICU beds, so they ask you to check out immediately. You’re more than happy to do that, and everyone is headed for the parking lot.
And then it hits you. Your being saved means everyone can be saved. You run back inside, breaking every social distancing rule in the book.
And hug the doctor.
That’s what this parable is all about. The kingdom of heaven has an emotional, out-of-control exuberance about it. Heavenly priorities (like people’s eternal destiny) are big priorities. They lead to big joy.
What’s important to the Samaritan leper isn’t that he’s cured; it’s that the cure has arrived. He sees beyond his own selfish needs to the big picture. But the secret sauce isn’t the egalitarianism; it’s the unbridled happy-go-lucky attitude. From an earthly perspective, it’s doing crazy things.
It’s nuts to throw a party every time you find something you misplaced. It’s nuts to leave ninety-nine sheep alone and at risk to go after one that has wandered off. It’s at least disobedient for the healed leper to come back to Jesus after He explicitly gave the instruction, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”
But from a heavenly perspective these things are not nuts, not disobedient, and not impractical. God is in control and you can do what you’re called to do without worrying about worldly priorities, probabilities, and rules.
When Patrick decided to return to Ireland, to the people who enslaved him, his family went all out trying to stop him. His plan was nuts.
Except that it wasn’t.
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