All Are Included

worshipWow!  Amen!  Praise the Lord!  What a wonderful story!

Luke 17:11-14

 11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed..

It we could stop here we’d probably all feel very comfortable and inspired.  After all, what we’ve seen up to this point is a wonderful illustration of how many of view the Christian religion.  So much of what we call Christianity has degenerated into nothing more than simply accepting certain propositions about God and they living a life of obligation and dutiful service to the church.  That’s the kind of religion we’ve seen so far in this story.  The ten lepers BELIEVED that Jesus could heal them.  The ten lepers OBEYED Jesus instructions.  All is now well.  Amen!  Praise the Lord.  Let’s go home!

Not so fast!  There is a more to be said.

This is not to say that doctrines and obedience are unimportant—they are.  But doctrines and obedience hardly describe the width and breath of the abundant life that Jesus desires to bring us.   Listen, people can believe all the right things about God—they can even respond to an alter call or complete a confirmation class—and still be far away from an abundant and victorious faith relationship with God.

Every day in every church there are people who stress and strain to express all the outward signs of doctrinal orthodoxy and life-style fidelity who, in fact, know nothing of intimacy with God.

Christianity involves much more than a belief in an all-powerful, miracle-working God.  It involves more than observing certain rules, ritual, and regulations placed upon us by some religious hierarchy.  Christianity is not merely about doctrines, dogmas, and dutiful service.


In her book The Lovely Ambition, Mary Ellen Chase defines grace when she writes:

Many learned mean have thought about grace for many centuries.  Most of them think it has to do with forgiveness and mercy, but I am inclined to disagree with them.  I rather think it simply means the constant presence of God.

That’s how I’d like us to think about grace today.  Think of it at the constant presence of God.  In these terms Christianity no longer is a religion of rules, rituals, and regulations.  Instead it is all about  RELATIONSHIP with God.  If grace is God’s constant presence, then Christianity is the grateful acknowledgement of God’s presence.

It’s not that one was included and the nine were excluded.  It’s that only one in this story realized that he was included.  God was not separated from him.  In fact, the Incarnate One, Jesus Christ, had come to all ten.  Each one was in need and eacy one was healed.

None Are Excluded

All Are Included


Inclusion: Making Room for Grace
by: Eric H. F. Law
publisher: Chalice Press, published: 2000-01-01
ASIN: 0827216203
EAN: 9780827216204
sales rank: 806336
price: $3.21 (new), $0.01 (used)

“Inclusion,” says the author, “is a discipline of consciously extending the boundaries of our communities to embrace and affirm people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.” In this resource for ministers and church leaders, Law provides models, theories, and strategies that are both practical and theologically sound for moving faith communities toward greater inclusion.


5 Responses to “All Are Included”

  1. Dianna says:

    It seems to me to be saying “all” were healed physically but only the Samaritan was healed spiritually and physically!

  2. Dianna says:

    Hi Bill,

    I read a lot of your articles and why I commented on this particular one I have no clue. As I look at my comment I say to myself, “Did I say that?” I had to study the Scriptures awhile to figure it out for myself. After studying and praying about this, here is my answer to you.

    There is clearly no “textual dividing line” as you say! The parable of the lepers does not say some were dead and some were not, that was just my thoughts on it. In order for me, personally, to believe what I said in the above post and for me to believe it’s true I would have to have other Scriptures to back it up or else I would just be making a false statement.

    For me, the following Scriptures state that we are spiritually dead until we see (or really understand) the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.

    Luke 15:24,32 For this son of mine was dead (he wasn’t dead physically)and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
    John 5:25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and HAS NOW COME when the DEAD (Christ does not say the physically or the spiritually dead but some Bible translations say “AND NOW IS” which means to me it has to be a spiritual resurrection not our physical resurrection from the dead) will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. In verses 28 and 29 THOSE are actually referring to our physical resurrection. Like the Apostle Paul said referring to our physical resurrection in I Cor. 15:44 (last part) If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

    Christ says in Matt. 8:22 Let the dead bury the dead. (Physically dead people cannot bury other dead people)
    Rom. 11:15 For if their (the Jews as a nation) rejection brought reconciliation to the world (to the Gentiles), what will their ACCEPTANCE they’re dead physically).

    The parable of the lepers, in my opinion is Jesus Christ displaying the Grace of God to all, some will accept it and some will reject it, like the lepers did. The 9 accepted the physical healing but evidently were not thankful to God for it, or didn’t see Christ for who He really was.

    May God Bless!

  3. Dianna says:

    I apologize for the verse Rom.11:15, in the transmission of the post it left out part of the verse, For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (How can the Jew accept anything if they are physically dead?)

    • billnieporte says:

      I am so grateful people read my blog at all…so I appreciate the questions.

      This Sunday I am preaching from this story…and throughout the week I am commenting on thoughts from the passage as I seek to discern the message for Sunday. Might I ask you to read the entire weeks blogs and see if these might satisfy your curiosity.

      As to the “dividing line” – Salvation is a WHOLENESS sort of thing. We sometimes (I do, anyways) create a split between the physical and spiritual. That is a product of western, enlightenment philosophical thinking that was foreign to the Hebraic world of the NT. So that was then point of the inquiry. Not sure, right now, what the point was. Perhaps just my own curiosity.

      What I think happened here is that Jesus revealed God’s love and blessing to 10 sick people. DEAD? Perhaps, as this was how that culture saw a leper. They were like the walking dead.

      By blessing them with healing, Jesus was revealing the Father’s love, inclusion, acceptance, healing power toward all. Even lepers – who were to be avoided. Even Samaritans, who were to be shunned. Father accepted them all. Through Jesus’ ministry, ALL of them were included in the blessing of grace. God was with them ALL through Jesus.

      But, alas, only one acknowledged this.

      God’s grace is MORE than just healing or cleansing (the two words used in the text).

      The nine got the benefit of what God can do. But they missed out on the reality that a loving God was right there…giving himself, not just healing. There was more to be had…but they did not show the faith to realize that.

      Check out the other blogs for today and tomorrow.

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