Summary: What to do about disagreeable people! What did Jesus do? Must you think like me to receive my service to you? Does someone you hate need you?
My Enemy My Friend
October 13, 2013
One afternoon a small boy was playing outdoors, using his mother’s broom as a horse, and he had a wonderful time until the sun went down. As he came in he left the broom on the back porch.
His mother was cleaning the kitchen when she realized her broom was missing, so she asked her son, “Do you know where my broom is?”
“I left my horse on the back porch,” he replied.
“That’s fine,” she said, “but I need it, so go get it for me.”
The boy hesitated so his mom asked, “Go on, get the broom.”
“I’m afraid of the dark,” he whimpered.
Through her laughter she said, “The Lord is out there too, so don’t be afraid.”
With a look of relief the boy opened the door a little and said, “Lord, if you’re out there, hand me the broom.”
We continue in Luke, focusing on the 17th chapter, verses 11 through 19. As mentioned before, this series in Luke did not begin intentionally but happened because these stories are so full of important information that leads humanity to better understand this person we call Messiah, the Master. The other information gleaned from Luke is virtual instruction on what our relationship with God should be and what we will do while in that bond. Some teachers have complained that there is so much about money in Luke that it is repetitious to a fault. This lesson is sort of a break in the trend.
The story in these eight short verses is familiar, and typically taught as our need to be thankful for what God does for us. Such deduction is correct and sound teaching, but as you might expect from these messages, there’s more.
The incident of the ten lepers being healed happened in a place not particularly friendly to Yeshua and His followers. Do you remember how James and John visited a Samaritan village, only to be rudely told to leave? And remember how the two disciples asked the Master to bring fire from heaven and kill them all? We don’t know if this is the same village that rejected them, but it wouldn’t matter if it was because the Master was not in favor of annihilating any Samaritan village.
Samaria was a geographical region occupied by people who followed a different Torah, or Bible, than what was taught in the Temple at Jerusalem. Today we might equate the differences in belief taught from the Book of Mormon verses the Catholic Bible verses the Bible as accepted in evangelical churches. We just don’t mix our audiences either. This religious disagreement might as well have been a wall between Samaria and Jerusalem, intended to keep the two separated while both sides insisted on their rightness, and that they had God on their side of the argument while the other side was wrong. Even the word Samaritan comes from the Hebrew shaw’-mar, meaning a hedge about to protect self, to look narrowly and preserve and save one’s self. Missions or the plight of others was not on their minds.
Regardless of right fighters being on both sides of that imaginary wall, Jesus ignored the differences and focused only on the plight of these ten lepers near the Samarian side, yelling at Messiah, showing obvious and loudly-proclaimed faith in Him.
These chapters in Luke are about the journey from Capernaum to Jerusalem and what happened along the way. The apostles and disciples had been the advance party to make the trip most profitable by arranging meetings and let the public know that Messiah would be coming through. This is how the ten lepers knew they had a chance of being healed, and their knowledge is proof that even in hostile territory, good news travels. These ten people, probably all men, were waiting near the road where Yeshua would be traveling. Obviously, Jesus’ reputation preceded Him, proclaimed by those sent out to make the way “straight,” which was within His teaching about allowing others to proclaim rank or position.
And, there is a legitimate question about chronology of this story, in that this may not have happened on the first trip to Jerusalem, yet it might have if Luke changed the order of events in his memory. Then, there is the other well-supported possibility that the Gospel According to Luke was written by the same person who wrote the Acts of the Apostles. If this is true, then writing these stories out of sequence makes sense and is understandable. In sequence or not, the message in this story is powerful and applicable to us, particularly now.
Whether these ten men, most likely all Samaritans, followed the Torah’s teaching the way Messiah accepted it or not, what He heard as He approached the village were these ten men, yelling at the top of their voices when they first see Christ saying, “O Jesus, our Master, have mercy on us!” Wait a minute. These guys were not of the same “denomination” as Jesus, yet they are calling Him, “Our Master.” What they did know on the testimony of the apostles is that this Teacher healed others and they had a chance of being physically clean again. They stood at a distance out of respect, not wanting their disease to infect the one who could heal them. Another possibility is that they knew Yeshua would not be welcomed in a Samaritan village so they waited for Him as He would pass by.