Where are the Nine
The nine other men who lived in the colony outside the village with Johnathan looked at him for a moment and then turned wearily away.
“You’re a fool, Jonathan,” one of them said. “How can you, a leper, stand there and admire a sunrise?”
“Here we are,” another chimed in bitterly, “shut away from the rest of men like unclean animals, and you babble about a new day.”
“The sunrise is not denied us because we are lepers,” Jonathan replied. “We can enjoy the beauties of nature as much as kings in their palaces.” Then he added a bit wistfully, “Maybe the great Miracle-Worker will pass this way today.”
“Ha, you say that every morning,” still another leper retorted harshly. “And has He come? Besides, what good would it do us if He did come this way? Do you think He would look at such as us?”
“Indeed He would,” Jonathan answered promptly. “I have heard that He is particularly sorry for lepers. He has healed a great many of them.”
“Yes, yes,” replied one of the older men impatiently. “He does heal lepers, but even if He came this way, He would not cure you, Jonathan. You are a Samaritan. We are Jews, like the Miracle-Worker Himself.”
Jonathan did not answer. He wondered if this cruel speech were true. He was a Samaritan and the Samaritans were the chief enemies of the Chosen People. Yet Jonathan did not hate his Jewish companions as they seemed to hate him. He felt sorry because their souls seemed to be in black despair. His misery and pain were as great as theirs, but he never quite lost hope.
And now there was news of the wonderful Jewish Miracle-Worker called Jesus. Could it be that Jesus would refuse to help him?
The sun was high in the heavens when Jonathan and his companions heard a tumult, at first distant and faint, then nearer and more distinct. They could see coming down the road a mob of people which crowded so excitedly around a small group of men in their midst as almost to prevent their moving.
Suddenly the Samaritan pointing to the Leader of the group. “It is He–it is He! Jesus of Nazareth has come at last!”
The others peered at the Stranger in the distance. “But how do you know it is He?” they asked.
“Who else could command such a following?” exclaimed Jonathan. “See, they are carrying sick people out of the village to Him. Hurry, hurry–I know He will heal us! We can wait for Him beside the village gates.”
Jonathan’s faith excited the others. Before long all ten lepers were beside the wall of the little town. They dared not enter, of course; they huddled outside calling, “Unclean, unclean!” as the law required them to do.
The throng on the road came nearer. They could see Jesus clearly now.
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jonathan cried piteously. And the other lepers echoed his words: “Have mercy on us.”
Jesus looked at the ten sick, sore bodies groveling in the dust. He looked at them, not with disgust, but with pity and love, and without moving from His place among the people, He called clearly, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
With the strength of new hope in their bodies, the lepers rose from the ground to do His bidding. And as they ran toward the synagogue, each one of them became clean and healthy again.
Presenting themselves before the priests, they were pronounced to be cured of leprosy.
“We are lepers no longer! Jesus has healed us,” the Samaritan cried with joy. “Oh, I knew He would. Let us go back and thank Him.”
So Jonathan went back to Our Lord alone. His heart was filled with gratitude to God and he sang His praises aloud. Struggling through the crowd, he fell at Jesus’ feet.
“Thank you, Lord,” he said.
Jesus looked down at the Samaritan who had returned to thank Him. He loved Jonathan for his gratitude, but His Sacred Heart was sorely disappointed that the nine Jews had not returned.
“Were not ten made clean?” He asked. “And where are the nine? Is this stranger the only one who has returned to give glory to God?”
Jonathan was embarrassed for the others. He hung his head.
“Go your way,” Jesus went on, His voice gentle and loving. “Your faith has saved you.”
And when Jonathan looked up he saw that Jesus was smiling at him.
Thus was Jonathan, the outcast Samaritan, rewarded for his faith and his gratitude.
Jesus Heals the Ten Lepers coloring page!