The Man Who Remembered to Say “Thank you”

Based on the Gospel of Luke, chapter 17, 11-19

Interviewer: Well, here we are at the village of [make up name]. We have been hearing stories all day that something very special has happened here today, and we thought we should check it out, and do a special report for you all. The story is that Jesus of Nazareth was here earlier and healed some people, but nobody seems to be around right now. [Enter Happy Man.] Excuse me sir [it’s difficult to get his attention because he’s dancing around, singing the hallelujah chorus or something equally joyful], excuse me, sir, can I have a word?

Happy Man: What? Who, me? Sure. How can I help you? Did you know I’ve been healed??? Yes, sirree, healed, that’s me!

Interviewer: Well, that’s exactly what I wanted to find out about.  Can you tell us what happened?

Happy Man: Didn’t you hear me say, I’ve been healed, I’ve been healed, I’ve been healed? That’s what happened!

Interviewer: So, you were sick?

Happy Man: Oh yes, you better believe it. I had LEPROSY: that’s a VERY bad disease, you know. I had sores all over me. And there’s no medicine that will cure it. And nobody wanted to talk to me, and nobody wanted to be my friend, because they were all afraid they’d get sick too. So I lived with nine other people who had leprosy because nobody else would be our friend. They called us the ten lepers.

Interviewer: The ten leopards?

Happy Man: No, no, the ten lepers. That’s the name for people who have leprosy—like me. But now I don’t have leprosy any more. Did I mention I’ve been healed?

Interviewer: Yes, actually you did.  So can you tell us how it happened?

Happy Man: Well, it was very exciting.  Someone had told us there was a man called Jesus who could heal anyone.  And we heard he would be passing this way. So we all stood at the side of the road and called out to him: “Jesus, Jesus, can you help us?” 

Interviewer: I hope you didn’t go too close, or you’d have got in trouble.

Happy Man: No, we didn’t. But Jesus heard us and came over to us. He didn’t seem to be worried about getting sick. And he said, Sure I can help you.  All you have to do is go straight to the doctor and he will say that you’ve been cured. Well, that seemed very strange. We didn’t feel any different. We certainly didn’t look any different. At first! But we’d asked Jesus for help, and that was what he said. So we started off walking to the doctor’s office . . . and all of a sudden we found we had been healed. (Did you know I’d been healed?) We were all so excited—I can’t tell you—we had been sick for so many YEARS!—and some of them began to run to the doctor’s office, they were so excited! Well, I began to run too, but then I thought . . . Hmmm. I didn’t say thank you, did I? That’s bad. What would my mother say?

Interviewer: So what did you do?

Happy Man: I came back to where Jesus was still standing, watching us all run off, with a big smile on his face. And I just said, Oh Jesus, that’s so wonderful what you’ve just done. Thank you thank you thank you. You are awesome.  And he said, It’s so nice that you came back to say thank you. Thank you for saying thank you! But what happened to the others? I thought I healed ten people—but you’re the only one who came back to say thank you. And I said, Well, my mother taught me always to say thank you. Anyway, he said, now you can go home again and live your life. So I began to go home—and I hadn’t been there for so long!—and then I thought, No, what I really want to do is be a friend of Jesus and be one of his disciples. So here I am, but Jesus has gone. Do you know where he went?

Interviewer: Well, I can see some footprints in the dust here where the ten of you ran off—and over there—but then there’s a lot more footprints going in the opposite direction. I think that must be the way Jesus went. Maybe you can catch up with him.

Happy Man: Ok, he can’t have got very far. I’ll soon catch up. Knowing Jesus, he’ll be stopping to heal someone else quite soon, after all! [As he begins to leave, he has a thought, and turns back to the audience for a moment . . .]  You know, Jesus has done so much for me, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I wonder: what has Jesus done for you? And what will you do for him? [He runs off, leaving the Interviewer shaking her head and smiling.]