Ten Lepers
Luke 17:11 (ESV) Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

What exactly does Jesus do in response to these men’s request for help? He just tells them to go show themselves to the priests. Jesus is simply following the law here. Leviticus 14 starts with these words: "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing.'"

Right in the middle of the book of Leviticus, there are thirty-two verses of detailed instruction concerning what a person is to do if they are healed from leprosy. Only one problem: since the days that these instructions were written down to the days of Jesus, there had never been an opportunity to put them into practice! Rabbis of the day had finally concluded that this ‘law of the leper’ was finally going to be used when Messiah came!

On the way to the priests, the (former) lepers discover that they have been healed. But this puts them in a bit of a bind: Jesus was “on his way”, and the priests were likely “out of the way”. By the time they participated in the requirements of the law, Jesus would have been long gone. They were walking away from the Messiah!

If I had been there, I know what I would have done: if someone had given me some instructions that resulted in the healing of my leprosy, wild horses couldn’t keep me from following through on those instructions to the very end. Obviously, most of these men agreed with me.

But the twist in this story; the surprise -- the shock, even -- is that the majority, those who dutifully followed the law -- indeed: those that dutifully obeyed the words of Jesus by going to the priests -- they don’t seem to receive Jesus approval. It is outsider, the outcast, the marginalized (Samaritans were despised in those days) who wins Jesus approval. “Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” he asks. 

But this is a lot like the dynamic that exists in so many churches throughout the world. For many people, it is all about ritual. But the majority are so distracted by "doing the right thing", that they miss out on a relationship with Jesus -- exactly the thing that the Samaritan leper found by preferring to connect with Jesus over following the letter of the law.