The 10th Leper’s Story
by William Luebcke
I miss my wife so much. And my children. I will never see them grow; I don’t know if they even remember me. It must be so hard for my wife. I pray the people of the village don’t take my condition out on her.
We used to be a happy family. We didn’t have much in our small village, but we had each other and life was good. Then one day I noticed a rash on my arm. It wouldn’t go away; it continued to spread. The priest said that I had leprosy. I had to leave my home and live in the garbage dump outside of town with others afflicted as I was. We had nothing. Some kind people would leave food for us, but it was never enough. And not being able to see my family made my life unbearable. I wanted to die.
One day we saw a lot of excitement in town and overheard someone say that Jesus was passing through the area. We had heard of Jesus and knew that he healed people. We decided that there was nothing to lose if we tried to meet Jesus and begged him to heal us. The villagers could stone us, but what would it matter: we were all but dead already.
One of us saw a large crowd coming down the road. We knew it had to be Jesus. The 10 of us came out of our cave waving our arms and shouting as loud as we could, trying to attract the attention of the crowd and hoping and praying that Jesus would notice us.
The crowd stopped and became very quiet. One or two shouted for us to go back. But we could not let this chance pass. We came forward, fell on our knees and cried out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
One man separated himself from the crowd and came toward us. We called out, “Unclean, unclean!” but he would not stop.
We became frightened and tried to move away. No one ever came up to a leper. It was forbidden. It was against God’s law. As we were trying to move away, Jesus came right up to us. He was not afraid. We looked into his eyes and could feel the love and compassion that he had for us. He told us to go and show ourselves to the priest. According to the law, the priest was the only one that could pronounce us cured.
I couldn’t believe it. I had waited so long for this moment. I had waited so long to see my family; I had waited so long to be human again.
All 10 of us jumped up and started to run to the priest’s house. As we ran, I could feel my body becoming whole again. I could feel that I was healed. I called to the others, “We need to thank Jesus.” But they wouldn’t stop. It was too important to get to the priest. But Jesus was more important to me. I had to thank him; I had to worship him.
I turned around and went back to where Jesus was still standing. I fell on my face before him and acknowledged him as the messiah and my God. I worshiped him for who he was and for the miracle of healing he had performed in my life.
Jesus wanted to know where the others were. Why was I the only one to come back and thank him? I couldn’t answer. I could only stammer, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over. The Son of God, Jesus Christ himself, had touched my life with his love. I would never be the same. He gave me back everything in my life that was important to me. He gave me back life itself. And in response, I willingly laid everything back at his feet. At that instant, and ever since, nothing has mattered except Jesus, his love, and the faith he planted in my heart that day. For the rest of my life, I will tell everyone who will listen what it means to look into the eyes of Jesus and find the love, compassion, and salvation that he offers to all who believe.
William Luebcke is a member of Trinity Lutheran in Tinley Park, IL.