In the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers, we learn important lessons about God’s mercy and man’s lack of gratitude. Jesus healed 10 lepers — social outcasts from their debilitating disease — yet only one man returned to thank Him.
Giving Thanks to God
IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE THE BIBLE is God’s holy and truthful Word — and this column holds to the Bible’s inerrancy and infallibility — then we also believe that God created us to glorify Him and that all good gifts come to us from Him.
How often do we recognize the Lord’s goodness and thank Him, actually stop a moment and thank Him for the goodness He provides?
PRAISE THE LORD!
I find that throughout the day, I am offering “prayer-lets,” little “thank you” prayers to the Lord for everything from keeping me from driving in front of a speeding car to helping me find my house keys to keeping me more patient and compassionate than my nature would warrant.
As I do so, I think my “guardian angel” must be working diligently to keep me safe and serene, and, yes, for that, I am grateful!
THE TEN LEPERS
THAT BRINGS US to our story of the 10 lepers. These were men and women ostracized from “polite society” because of their disfigurement.
- MATT. 6:11 (NET): “Give us today our daily bread.”
- MARK 8:36 (ESV): “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
- LUKE 17:17 (NKJV): “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?’”
- JOHN 10:10b (NASB20): “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.”
They lived in colonies on the outskirts of town and were forbidden from visiting their loved ones.
One day, when Jesus was in town, 10 lepers from the local colony — who knows how many were in the colony, the Bible doesn’t say — but 10 of them approached Jesus, hoping He would heal them.
He told them to show themselves to the temple priests for the ceremonial cleansing of healed lepers — a ceremony that probably never had been held before because the illness was incurable — and they all traipsed off dutifully to see the priests.
As they walked, they were healed. Jesus wanted them to demonstrate faith as a healing mechanism.
One of them turned back to fall at the Lord’s feet and to thank Him for healing him, and the Bible tells us he was not even Jewish but one of the Samaritans, which made him racially outcast as well as a leprosy outcast.
THE LORD’S ASTONISHMENT
THE BIBLE TELLS US that Jesus was amazed — two-fold amazed. Only one of the 10 expressed thanks, and He was a Samaritan, not a Jew!
“Weren’t there 10 lepers healed?” Jesus asked as He turned to His disciples. “How come only one of them came back to say “Thank You,” and He’s a foreigner, to boot?” (paraphrase mine)
Isn’t that embarrassing? If you were standing there with Jesus and had watched this charade, what would you have thought of the nine countrymen who sashayed off to the temple priests for the ritual cleansing ceremony and didn’t bother to give thanks to their benefactor?
Before you answer, how often do you give thanks to the Lord for His goodness in your life?
Many of us, including self-identified Christians, will dig into a meal without pausing to offer grace, who take their good health for granted, or figure their new job with the hefty salary is a result solely of their own effort.
SO, WHERE DOES that leave us?
The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5 to be thankful in all situations and to pray constantly. Obviously, to pray constantly, and to be thankful in all situations, means to “be in the attitude of prayer.” That would be “praying as we go.”
The Bible also tells us in Matthew 7 to “keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking” and, in God’s perfect timing, we’ll receive the answers He wants us to have, the goal we’re looking for, and the doors to be opened.
That promise, for me, is worth stopping in my tracks and turning around to the Master and, falling on my knees, saying “Thank You.”
FATHER GOD, we thank You for Your patience with us. Even while we were yet sinners, You sent Your Son to die on the cross for us, to restore us to fellowship with You, yet too often, we take our blessings as our “due,” and not as the gift of grace, which they are. Forgive us, Lord, and sustain us in our walk with Christ. In Jesus’ name. AMEN