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Why is Jesus repeatedly affirming the faith of people from other nations?
Why is Jesus repeatedly exposing the lack of faith of the religious holy huddle while lifting up the non-Jews, non-religious, as the stars of his stories.
In Luke 17, there is the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers. Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosymet him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him-and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Here we go again! The star of this story is a foreigner, an outsider, a non-Jew, a Samaritan. Note we see that no matter the cultural background or religion, it’s the heart that impresses Jesus most. Here in the leper story it’s a heart of gratefulness. No one from the Jewish holy huddle returned to give thanks to Jesus. Not one! Only the despised Samaritan.
In John 4, Jesus healed the royal official’s son. A royal official whose son was dying in a nearby town approached Jesus. The official said to Jesus, “Sir, come before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
Jesus was getting more and more upset with the religious leaders of Judaism. They followed him to Galilee from Jerusalem, after seeing the miracles he performed there. This is when the royal official asked for his own miracle. Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.” NOTE, in contrast to the religious leaders of Judaism, the royal official (the father) believed and the miracle followed.
Again, the star of this story did not belong to the holy huddle, but was an outsider, a non-Jew, from the nations of the world who had not known God. I’m reminded that we are quick to judge the world and talk to ourselves, when we ought to be judging ourselves and talking to the world.