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?”
You are most likely familiar with the story. Jesus encounters ten lepers who plead for healing. Jesus then instructs them to show themselves to the priests. On the way, they discover that they have been healed. Nine continue on their journey of religious rituals. They must show themselves to the priests, who alone can give them a certificate of cleansing. Their calculated external obedience to the laws of Moses reveals wherein their hope lies. Their hope lies in keeping the rules, and in following the ceremonial customs established in Old Testament law.
But one, a Samaritan, turns back, praising God with a loud voice, falling on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. This Samaritan now knew without a shadow of a doubt that his hope did not lay in a list of rules and regulations that he could not keep, but his hope lay in the Person of Jesus Christ, to whom all of the Old Testament laws and legislations were only pointing! And this foreigner, who had been restored to life, could not help but shout out praise and offer unrestrained worship to His great Saviour!
Deep down in the heart of every sinner, there is a Pharisee lurking, tempting us to believe that checking off external obedience to a set of rules is the requirement for Christianity. But this Samaritan reminds us there is no hope to found in our obedience to the law – our only hope is in the man, Christ Jesus! It is only as we see our desperation apart from Jesus – worse than lepers, outcasts from God, headed for death – that we will see just how great our Saviour is! It is only then, that we will join the ranks of this one leper in self-abandoning worship and loud praise and thanksgiving to our great Saviour for the wonder and the cost of His great love to foreigners and sinners and lepers such as us!P