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!