The one who did not obey.

I am fascinated by this story.  It probably looked something like this.

“I am a leper and a Samaritan.  That may not mean a lot to you, but to me, it means that I am an outcast.  Leprosy is one of those dreaded illnesses that cuts you off from everybody that you love.  How I long to be touched again.  To be whole.  I lost my left hand after hot cooking oil fell on it.  I did not notice it immediately.  My left eye is blind.  I have no idea why.  I lost a few toes due to rats in the night, because I cannot feel sensations.  I wish I could feel pain again.  Just the other day, I stepped on a glowing coal and did not even notice it.

Luckily I am in a community now.  There are 10 of us.  Not all of us have leprosy; some have a skin disease that resembles leprosy, but that is another story.  We make turns to stay awake during the night to make sure those damn rats stay away from those of us who are trying to sleep.  My best friend’s name is John.  He looks a lot worse that I do.  I look out for him.  As I’ve said, I am a Samaritan.  A second class citizen.  The other 9 guys are Jews.  That means that most of them look down at me.  Luckily John is a true friend.

We cannot come near people.  It is the law.  That means we are constantly being chased away.  I can describe it as speed shuffling, because movement is not our best attribute.  People use us as “scary children stories”, telling their children to behave or they will end up like us.  It’s a lonely life.  When people come near us we have to shout ”unclean, unclean” in order to warn them away.  We spend most of our days begging.  It’s not really living, but then again you have to make the best with what you have, otherwise you would get off your rocker.

The last few days however, something has changed in our little group.  We have heard of a wild man, actually healing people.  His name is Jesus.  First, we though it was just plain silly rumors.  A cruel joke, played on us.  Over time however, the rumors persisted and we have begun to find hope again.  We have even started to make plans to get close to Him.  Not too close though.

Today is the day!  We heard someone say that He is coming this way.  Our plans are ready.  There is only one place where He could enter the village.  We even practiced our shouting.  We hear some noise coming.  Some of the people want us to bugger off, but we stand our ground.  Ha! Let them take the long way round for a change.

Yes, there He is.  OK guys, we’ve practiced this, 1, 2, 3…”Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!!!!!  Damn, it did not sound as good as when we practiced.  Hey look, He noticed us.  He is coming closer.  Again guys…”Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!!!!!  Much better.  He doesn’t look much like a holy man. Oh well.

“Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  Go and show ourselves?  But we are not healed!  We are NOT freakin healed!!  I try not to show my disappointment.  So much for hope.  But He said we must go, and we will obey Him.  His eyes were smiling when He said that.  Maybe He will call us back.  No, it doesn’t seem like He is going to.  This is going to be embarrassing.  I wonder what the priests are going to do to us when we get there.  We will probably be banished far, far away.  Hey, wait a minute.  I am a Samaritan.  I’ll be lucky to get out of this alive!

Ouch!  I just stepped on a stone.  What’s wrong with this picture?  I can feel pain.  I have toes?  I….can….see….my….toes.  My left eye is working again.  I touch my face.  My hand is back!  Look John!  Fingers!  Look, the others are also healed.  There is a shocked silence and suddenly we do not know what we have to do with ourselves.  And then the dams burst.  Some explode into tears.  Others begin to laugh.  We hug each other.  It is confusion mixed up with chaos.  We can touch and we are being touched.  Through the tears I see John jumping up and down, up and down.  I dive him to the ground.  We lie there laughing.  After a while, we begin to calm down.  Then one of us smirks and we all burst into laughter.  This is unbelievable.  Too good to be true.  I pinch myself.  Nope, I am awake.

After a while John stands up and tells the group.  “Just one more thing guys.  We have to show ourselves to the priests.  I cannot wait to see the looks on their faces.”  The priests?  I have not thought about them.  “John, the priests can wait.  I have to thank Jesus.  I have to find Him.”  John comes over to me.  “He told us to go and show ourselves to the priests.  It’s the law.  He TOLD us to go.  If you disobey Him, you might even become sick again.”  “But John, we are healed!  We do not need the priests to tell us that.  How many times have you met somebody like Jesus?  Well?  Well, I am NOT going to let Him slip through my fingers!  Fingers, John.  LOOK John.  SEE.  I know He commanded us to go.  But I want Him first.  After I thanked Him, I will go.  But Him first.  Come with me, John.”  “This is because you are a Samaritan,” mutters one of the others.  “You do not value the law as we do.”  John hesitates.  He sighs.  “No, we will obey Him.  We will obey the law.  You do what you want to do, but our ways separate here.”  I hug him one last time.  “I’m sorry, but I must find Him.  Thanks for everything John.”

This hurts like hell.  Saying goodbye to a friend.  He wants to obey Jesus.  I just want Jesus.

Luk 17:15  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
Luk 17:16  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Luk 17:17  Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
Luk 17:18  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Luk 17:19  And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”



3 thoughts on “The one who did not obey.

  1. I was blessed by this, it is the foundation of my life – thanks. Just thought about Jesus saying, “He who has my commandments and does them, it is he who loves me and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (Jn. 14)
    In the context of your story, it makes me think …We make the mistake of thinking subconsciously that Jesus is speaking here about commandments as in laws. I think He refers to commandments as in conversation – as in His words. The same thing He referred to when He said to Satan in the desert, “man shall not live by bread alone but man lives from every word (commandment) that proceeds from the mouth of God.” He later proved it by saying that He can do nothing unless He sees the Father do it. And to us He said, we can do nothing without Him. It is in the conversation that He is interested. When we love Him, we will hang on to every word from His mouth and be set free to do all He says. And then … He will manifest (reveal, make visible) Himself to us.
    We should think more and more in the relational context and less in the organisational, as you have illustrated so well.

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