“1 Out of 10”
Sermon: “1 Out of 10”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from October 9, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
A couple of things, when we look at the passages this morning, both from Jeremiah and from Luke, they're really both about the same thing, and that's hope for the future. I mean, in Jeremiah, we've got Jeremiah being told to go to the people and tell them to go ahead and buy a property. That they're going to be living in the land. So go ahead and do all the things that are future-oriented, and that's the message of hope there.
In Luke, we have 10 people that come to Jesus because basically, they have no hope. You know, if you were a leper, you were a total pariah in society, you couldn't be with your family, and you couldn't take part in community activities. You couldn't go to get water at the well at the same time anybody else was there. You couldn't go and buy food. You had to depend on someone leaving it somewhere that you could come and pick it up. And the only people that you could find to be in community with were other lepers.
Now, of course, leprosy contained a whole bunch of various skin diseases that we now separate into different categories, but they were all communicable skin diseases, and so for the sake of the community, there was a good reason that lepers were outcasts, but here we have 10 people that come to Jesus and ask him to have mercy on them.
Now, they didn't come and say, you know, Jesus, heal me. They just said, have mercy on us. And Jesus tells them to do exactly what the law said they needed to do. Go and present yourselves to the priest. Now in the gospel of Luke, we don't have a whole lot of details here. If they were lepers, there was no way that the priest would've seen them.
They would not have been allowed in the temple to see the priest. And they just do what Jesus says and start on their way. And it says, while they were going, they were healed. While they were going, they were healed. So, they had enough faith that they would start off going to the priest without, at that point, yet even knowing that they were going to be healed.
The reason they had to go to the priest, was anytime you were healed of something, you had to go to the priest. And there was this whole long process where you would go and you would present yourself to the priest and they would tell you what offerings you had to give in Thanksgiving, and then you had to go through this period of ritual cleansing before you were allowed back into the community before you were allowed to come back into the temple and worship before you were allowed to take part in any of these things.
And so, these 10 start off and one, when he realizes that he's healed, turns back and the scripture points out the fact that he is a Samaritan. Well, what's the significance of that? What difference does it make that it's a Samaritan and not, you know, there were 10 that came to Jesus? They all went off together.
Ah, but the Samaritan could not go to the priest at the temple because they were a Samaritan. That's part of it.
When we read this passage, we have a tendency to look at this and say, But that one turned back and came back and said thank you to Jesus for healing them. And we say, well, the other nine, why didn't they come back and say thank you? Well, you know, we wanted to say that they weren't doing what they needed to do.
Well now hold on. They were doing exactly what the law said they were supposed to do and what Jesus told them to do. They were doing exactly what they were told to do, weren't they? They were going to the priest to show themselves. So, they could begin the process of being restored to the community. So, before we jump on those nine that don't turn back, we need to look at it and say, All right, how often in our lives have we done exactly what we were supposed to have done and no more?
Because that's what those nine were doing. They were doing exactly what they were supposed to. But the one, the one turns back and falls at Jesus' feet, and prostrates himself, giving thanks and praising God.
Now, we think of, you know, anytime that we have someone pointed out in the gospels as a Samaritan, it's because they're one of those people. Now we know who those people are in this day and age, don’t we? They are anybody that doesn't vote the way we do. Anybody that doesn't dress the way we do, anybody that doesn't have the same skin color we have, anybody that doesn't have the same preference for partners as we do. It's they're those people.
But it was one of those people that came back and thanked Jesus. Now, we have to also remember that the only difference between a Jew and a Samaritan, was that the Samaritans were a different part of the kingdom when Judah and Israel were split and, in the diaspora, they started worshiping on Mount Garizine instead of insisting that it had to be in Jerusalem.
Other than that, their beliefs were the same. They followed the same laws; they followed the same teachings. They were all children of Abraham. And so, we have this Samaritan who believes the same way. He, you know, maybe he just turned back because he realized that he needed to go in the other direction to see his priest.
But that's not what the gospel says, the gospel says he came back and prostrated himself giving thanks to Jesus for what had been done for him. So, he may have still been doing just what the other nine were doing, doing exactly what he was told to do. He was going to go to his priest, but he had to go back to Samaria to do that, which meant risking a very dangerous road by himself, away from the people who he'd been living in community with, to go back and do what Jesus had told him to do, and on the way, stopped and thanked Jesus.
Now we have this person who started off towards Jerusalem, well, hold it, wait a minute, I have to go that way. And turns around and starts going back down the road towards Jericho, which was a famous route for Robbers. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? That was on that same road, and he turns back to go where he's supposed to go so, he can go show to the priest and start that process of being restored to his community in Samaria but goes one step further and stops and thanks Jesus on the way. He thanks a good Jew for healing a Samaritan.
Now, what's that say to us, and what we're supposed to be doing? We could be like those nine where we do exactly what we're supposed to do in life and no more. We could be the Samaritan and say we're going to go back to where we belong. But he did one more thing. He went out of his way to come back and fall at the feet of Jesus and thank him.
Now, there are a lot of things that we do in life that we really, we really are blessed with. Think about that. We take so much for granted. You know, when Covid hit, we started complaining about the bare spots on the store shelves, and yet in most of the world, they would've been happy to have had the choice that we still had, and we complained about it, instead of being thankful for what we had there to choose from.
Yeah. Maybe it wasn't your favorite brand of toilet paper, but you had something. You go to the grocery store now, and you might not find your favorite brand of something at any given time, but there's still food there, you're not going to starve. And yet we complain about that instead of being thankful. And in the church, we look around and we say, oh my gosh, everything is so rough. And I can guarantee you that there are a lot of people in Florida right now that would be happy to be able to go to church, and yet we complain.
We can go and do what we think is the right thing, but do we do anything more than the minimum? The Samaritan did? Where are we going above and beyond what is required and prescribed? Hmm, you know, those are the places in life where our faith really comes through. Where we do something that is above and beyond what is prescribed or expected of us.
There was a meme that went through, I think it was on Facebook not that long ago, and judging by the side of the road they were on, it must have been in England or one of those places, cuz people were driving on the left side of the road, but there was a woman waiting to get across the street where it was busy traffic. And there was a motorcycle club that came along, and the first person in line on that club stopped his bike and got off. All the rest of them stopped their bikes so that they were blocking traffic and he helped her across the street.
That's going above and beyond. They could have just followed the traffic signals and let her worry about it herself. There wouldn't have been anything wrong with it. There wouldn't have been anything wrong with it. We drive down the highway, we see a car stopped on the side of the road where it's obvious that they've got to deal with a flat tire. And maybe you've got a single mom with a baby standing outside the car, and most of us keep right on driving. What would happen if you stopped and help them change the tire?
It's going a little above and beyond. And in this day and age, we say, oh, but you never know. There could be somebody hiding, waiting to ambush us. Unfortunately, that's true, but it's the choice we have to make of whether we're living out our faith that calls us to do a little bit more, that little bit more in a way of saying thank you to God for all the blessings that we've got.
It's that moment when our faith truly comes through. Are we willing to do that extra little bit that says, thank you, for all the blessings that you've given me God? For the things that you've healed me of. For the community, you've given me, for the love that other people have shown me. What are we doing to go above and beyond and do that thing That shows our gratitude?
May our faith always be visible to those around us in those moments. Amen.