After Jesus healed the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19 only a Samaritan returned to praise God and give thanks. He is a foreigner. The Greek word, allogenes, used in 17:18, is the only use of that word in the Bible. The word is made up of allo – “other or different” and genesis – “origin or descent.” Meaning, “another race or tribe” or “not one of us.” The term was used in the temple in Jerusalem warning foreigners not to go beyond a certain temple court.
Sunday morning, we studied how the prophet Elisha healed Naaman of leprosy. Naaman was commander of the Syrian army in 2 Kings 5. He was also a foreigner.
A columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that when he first heard of a police officer getting shot to death by an 18-year-old on drugs, he automatically thought it was a young black man in North St. Louis County. However, it was a young white man from South St. Louis County who killed the officer. The head of the board of elders at Bunker Hill said, “I think we all thought that at first.”
We live with prejudgments about people, especially those “other people” those people “different from us.” Yet God’s will is, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord be saved.” Jesus told the Samaritan, “Rise go your way your faith has saved you.” “Your faith has saved you” is the literal translation of what Jesus said. As for Naaman, he took back home a load of Israel’s soil, on which he stood when worshipping in his nation’s pagan temple. Because then he was actually on Israel’s soil as he worshipped Israel’s God.
Interesting how the mission of the Lord works its way into people’s lives.