a lesson in thankfulness from a leper

Perhaps you’re familiar with the account of this miracle where Jesus cleansed ten lepers of their leprosy (from Luke 17:11-19 ESV)

On the way to Jerusalem he (Jesus) was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.

Can you imagine that scene? I can’t remember another miracle in all of scripture where Jesus simultaneously healed or cleansed ten people at one time.  WOW! WOW! WOW!

Leprosy meant you were ostracised … banished … from the rest of the community … they were seen as unclean … very, very unclean.  No one would even think of touching a leper.  This separation is confirmed by the passage in the Scripture above ‘And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices.’  

Can you imagine the immense gratitude and thankfulness these ten lepers should have felt as they walked away and suddenly realized Jesus had answered their plea and cleansed them?

Once again, much to the chagrin of the Jews, Jesus used a Samaritan to teach everyone an object lesson in faith and thankfulness.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.  Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

You may think I’m going to be a bit critical of the nine lepers … unfortunately that would be a lot like the kettle calling the pot black.  Too often I have to count myself with the nine lepers … I have offered up a prayer … a plea … to God for rescue and/or resolution of a difficult circumstance or trial and He has been ever faithful in a more timely basis than I deserve.  Then a day or two later I realize I never thanked and praised God for answering my prayer. And God is probably asking ‘Where is Bernie?’

And based on Jesus’ final words to the one leper I can’t help but wonder if the leprosy returned to the nine cleansed lepers … just wondering … and is a lack of thanksgiving and praise to God for the great works He has done in our lives a reflection of lack of faith?  Food for thought and consideration.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, thanks for the lesson in thankfulness from a leper.  May I not only learn it … but live it!


About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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2 Responses to a lesson in thankfulness from a leper

  1. jimdavenport says:

    Bernie, I learn lessons most everyday from unexpected sources. God has a way of getting our attention and reminding us of where all of our blessings initiate. Thanksgiving is something that we too flippantly give back to God. As I child I learned that prayer from my parents … “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep,. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mommy, Daddy, etc.” And the one for grace before meals was “God is great, God is good; let us thank Him for our food. By His hand we all are fed, thank you Lord for daily bread.” Neither of these prayers focused on the breadth of God’s manifold blessings for which we should be thankful. I think that we are satisfied with our childish prayers as adults as well. I know that I am not on my knees in an attitude of thankfulness as often as I should be. Your article about the healing of the 10 lepers is a significant reminder of how much I take God for granted. Thank you my brother. Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving Day. Jim D.

    • bwebbjr says:

      Hi Jim,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on your comment … I so appreciate your comments because there is usually a lesson in the midst that supplements what I’ve written … I don’t know about you but so often when I blog the resulting message seems to be more directed to me than anyone … the amazing work of the Holy Spirit. Good to know that not only your comment but the post above can serve as reminders to both of us … God does indeed work in mysterious ways!

      Love IN Christ to you my brother!


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