Where are the other nine?

There is a scripture that tells of a story in which Jesus encountered ten lepers who cried out to be healed.  Jesus tells them to go and show themselves to the priests and, the story shares, the people were healed along the way.  One of these people who was healed along the way returns back to Jesus and thanks him.  Jesus asks where the other nine?  I do not know, but one could conjecture a few ideas on why these people did not thank Jesus.

Perhaps one person ran and told all the people she could.
Perhaps one person just plain forgot.
Perhaps one person could not find Jesus who was traveling across the land.
Perhaps one person one ran home to connect with his family.
Perhaps one person discovered a way to make money off the miracle.
Perhaps one person became a priest who felt a call after their mountain top experience.
Perhaps one person was just shocked and immobilized.
Perhaps one person just did not know how to thank Jesus.
Perhaps one person was so self-involved that he believed that he deserved to be healed and did not see a need to thank Jesus.

This text is often used to discuss that we ought to have an "attitude of gratitude" or how we ought to give thanks for our blessings.

And this is not a bad or wrong interpretation.

What I was considering the other day about this text is how the ones who did not return were all still convinced of the purity codes of their day.  That is to say, they go to their priests who are symbols of the religious authorities and ones who could declare people "clean" or not.  As such when those who went to the priests were ones who still affirmed the religious order of their day.

They still believed that there could be unclean people who ought to be separated from the clean people.  While they were now clean, they themselves still bought into the idea that society could declare some people inferior.  Perhaps they would even encounter another "unclean" person and stay away from them.

However, the one who returned to Jesus was the one who did may not have said thank you (the text says he only prostrated himself before Jesus).  We can be certain though, that the one who returned rejected the system of declaring people clean and unclean.  This one, did show himself to the Great Priest, and in doing so made a statement that he understands what Jesus understands - no one can declare another person subhuman.  No one is unclean in the sight of God.  No one is allowed to lord himself over others in such a way to perpetuate a discriminatory system.

Perhaps this is why Jesus asks where the other nine are?  Perhaps Jesus is disappointed to see that only one in ten got his message and rejected the powers that be.

All ten were healed, but only one was set free.  Only one broke away from the system that creates more unclean people.

Only one.