What God has made clean and Holy, no one can call dirty

(Luke 17:12-18 NIV)  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met 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?"

Jesus went to a leprosy village that few would have dared enter lest they caught the dreaded disease. The people in this village were bounded together by their common illness, an identity beyond whether being Jew or a Samaritan who in the normal circumstances would not be found living together. The Samaritan even though a foreigner, being a leper, would be in the same position as the Jewish lepers, being unclean and unworthy to come before God. The Samaritan was twice dammed, firstly being a Samaritan, a despised race, and secondly having leprosy and therefore even rejected by his own people.

As Jesus entered the village, they stood afar, fearful to come any nearer lest they suffer rejection or fearing that the disciples would run away, they cried out and acknowledge Jesus as their master and for Him to have pity on them. Their healing did not come immediately, but as they believed by faith and took the step of faith to go to the priest of the village to be checked whether they have been healed, they were miraculously cleansed of the symptoms of leprosy.

Those who were healed, had stood from a far, and even after they had been healed and certified by the priests as such, went away and therefore came no nearer to Jesus, even though He had healed them. If the story had been about thankfulness alone, there would be no need to mention the Samaritan who would only upset the Jewish conservatives. Yet, Jesus specifically highlighted that it was the Samaritan, the most despised and unclean race that was thankful rather than the Jew. Jesus was highlighting that deep inside, the righteousness of the Samaritan was far greater than that of the Jews. The story was not really about being thankful, but about self righteousness. The Jews believed that they were the Children of Abraham and therefore rightfully deserved the healing, as a right. Therefore, they did not come back to thank Jesus. However, the Samaritan, vary of the grace of God, knowing that he as a Samaritan in no way deserved to be healed, came back to give thanks to Jesus.

There is a contrast made being unclean intrisically as what you were born as (which the Jews condemned the Samaritans for), versus that which made you unclean externally eg having leprosy. Gays are like Samaritans, being "born like that", and Jesus was emphasising that despite being blamed for being intrinsically sinners, they are no more or less sinful than the rest of the community. We are all under condemnation of sin and of the fallen nature just as both the Jew and the Samaritan had leprosy.   Being a Samaritan, or being gay made them no worst a sinner. Indeed, Jesus was implying that the outcasts of the community may be much more righteous for they see their need for Christ beyond the facade our the self righteousness of the majority.

God looks at our heart far beyond our sexual orientation. Does the fact that 95% of us being straight, feel more righteous and superior than the remaining 5% who is gay whom we see as intrinsically sinners. When we condemn Gays we are extolling our self righteousness, and worshipping our straight sexuality. As a result, we look past our straight abortions, divorce and sexual promiscuity, and blame it all on gays for the collapse of our straight marriages. In Proposition 8, we are not defending traditional marriage, but we are asserting our worship of the idol, of self defined by our sexuality. It is OK for a scantily dressed and sexually exposed Miss USA to condemn gays who wanted to marry to strengthen their relationship.  

When Jesus mentioned that the Samaritan was a foreigner, it was a sarcastic remark aimed at the religious Jews, for the Samaritan was no ordinary foreigner. A foreigner would be a gentile, one who did not know God. Yet, the Samaritans knew God, and had the same religious books – the Pentateuch as the Jews. They wanted to worship at the temple at Jerusalem but were banned by the Jews who considered them intrinsically unclean because they were half breed. They had Jewish blood, but not pure, therefore neither being a Jew or a Gentile. They were unnatural. There are many Christian gays who wanted to worship Jesus, yet we asked them to leave our church lest they corrupt the minds of our straight Christians. Just like the Samaritans, being gay, neither a man nor a woman, but queer. In both cases, they were innocent because they were born as such.

The message of Luke  17:12-18, is therefore not really about thankfulness or how we treat the foreigner or the outcasts in our midst,  but talks about how awful and self righteous the religious conservatives were, and by exalting the Samaritan over the Jew, Jesus was saying that these people whom we consider as dirty sinners are perhaps much better morally and decent than we are, with a heart of gratitude to God so much better than those who claim to be religious and law abiding. Gays are our modern day Samaritans, perhaps even treated worst for the Samaritans were left alone and given space to live in, yet we Christians persecute gays, putting them in prisons, limiting their rights, expelling them from the Church, and banning them from getting married. We are much worse than the Jews, who even though despised the Samaritans as sinners, gave them their own space, to live, and to worship God albeit in a separate mountain. It was a policy of “live and let live”, and the Jews stayed far away, and “far off”, from the Samaritans but we Christians march on in an anti-gay crusade against the gay community.

In Luke 17:12, both the Samaritan and the Jews started off having leprosy but the Jews ended up unredeemed and afar off from God though outwardly healed, but the Samaritan who was considered intrinsically sinners and unclean by the Jews, ends up being close to God, coming back to Christ whilst the Jews in their self righteousness moved far away. Our condemnation of Gays in mainstream Christianity only exalts our self righteousness and one day when this life and world is over, it may be that those we condemned may be far more righteous in God’s eyes for in the midst of their suffering, rejection, and persecution, opened their hearts to the Love of God who will embraced them as good and faithful servants.

Are we more sinful than gays?  One day those who were so rejected and despised, will find their most abundant grace in Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, that through the gay tribe, all will know that our God is a good God.  Gay Christians may be nearer than God than the conservative religous Christians for only when we are left with nothing much even our dignity, humanity and faith taken away, that the grace, mercy and compassion of Christ truly abounds and be magnified in our lives. We reach the point of grace, when Jesus becomes our righteouness. Perhaps we can only be near to God's heart, when we embrace His heart for the despised, the outcasts, and the rejected by the religious majority.

This saith the Lord, "Rejoice, be blessed, for what God has cleansed and made holy, no one can call dirty".  Think about His Love, If God is for us who can be against us.


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