“As he neared the village, two scared faces popped up from behind the branches of a nearby tree. Three more sad faces peeked out from behind a giant rock. Jesus looked into the distance. Five more frightened faces stared out from a large leafy plant. Ten faces – each covered with red, bumpy spots. Ten men – some missing their fingers and toes – tried to warn Jesus. “Stay away!” one shouted. “Leprosy!” yelled another. “Keep your distance,” another warned.
Now if you turn to this passage in the New American Standard, the International Version, the Jerusalem Bible, the King James Version, or the New Revised Standard Version you will not find the lepers peeking out from the branches of a tree, a giant rock, or a leafy plant. The story has been embellished to make it more child friendly. The lepers certainly could have been hidden from view, but whether hidden or in plain sight, this detail does not affect the story.
Jesus knew the men were hurting and He wanted to help them. Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests. As they were walking their spots disappeared and their missing fingers and toes were growing back indicating that they would be restored to health. One of the ten men ran back to Jesus while the nine made their way to the priests. The man said “Thank you, Jesus! Praise God!” “Jesus laughed to see the man so happy.” You will not find that detail mentioned in those other translations, but it is more than reasonable to assume that Jesus reacted that way. Jesus longs for us to be whole and happy. In the morning when you arise from sleep, counting your ten fingers and ten toes, you can be happy too and begin your day by giving thanks and praise to God for the blessings of health and wholeness.
Lord, we thank You for this story of Jesus healing ten lepers. All of them were thankful to be healed, but only one returned to give thanks to Jesus and to praise God. Keep us mindful of this story so that we may praise and thank You for all Your good gifts to us. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.