Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-19)
Glorify God Giving Him Thanks
Leprosy was a horrible disease that disfigured the body and brought certain death. In one of the most remarkable stories of scripture, Jesus finds ten men who were afflicted with the malady begging Him to do something to help them. Their faith was substantial to consider Jesus could do anything. There was no cure or treatment for leprosy. Abandoned by all as a contagion and ostracized for life, it was a psychological slow death feared by everyone. Ten men huddled together apart from everyone begging alms and crumbs of food was a pitiful sight. Seeing Jesus they mustered the courage to have Him consider their plight extending mercy if He was willing. The Lord instructs them to show themselves to the priest which was in accordance to the Law of Moses. As they went to see the priest, a miracle of all miracles happened to each man. The leprosy that had afflicted their bodies disappeared. What an intense feeling of joy must have flooded the hearts of the former lepers. How wonderful to no longer feel the agonizing pain and horrible stench of leprosy. They would no longer be set apart and they would be able to return home to the families. This was more than they could have hoped for. Their lives would forever be changed as they raced towards the temple.
Suddenly, one of the men realized what had happened and what his cleansing meant. The former leper knew the power of cleansing leprosy from the body and nothing short of the mercy of God brought the miracle to happen. He recognized that something greater had taken place than the changing of the skin and restoration of the body. His heart was filled with an overwhelming spirit of thanksgiving. Before going to the priest, he returned to where Jesus stood and fell at His feet. He was in the presence of God. The man was more than thankful that leprosy no longer imprisoned his body but he knew the only way he could enjoy his new found blessings was to thank the one who made it possible. Oddly enough, the man was from a mongrel race despised by the Jews. He was a Samaritan. They were the outcast of Israel. A mixed race of Jew and Gentile loathed by the spiritual elite of the Jews. He was the one that came back. Only he was the one who returned to give thanks to God for the incredible gift of salvation.
Jesus was disappointed that only one returned. The other nine men kept going without returning to give thanks for the miracle of life. What made the return of the one more remarkable was he was the foreigner of the group. The Samaritan was the only one to return and give glory to God and to thank the Lord for the miracle. His body had been afflicted with leprosy but his heart was filled with love. A simple act but a powerful show of godliness. The one returned and worshiped God because he knew the only way his salvation was made possible was by the power of the Lord God.
Sin is more heinous than leprosy. Many have been cleansed from the stain of sin but few return to give God the glory and to fill their hearts with thanksgiving. Like the nine there is joy in the healing and forgotten is the daily gratitude for the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus. Nothing man can do will wash away the penalty of sin. Jesus died on the cross to give life to all men. God loved the world so much He allowed His Son to die. They treated Jesus in the vilest and most vicious manner and He accepted His death as the will of the Father. Through the grace of a loving God salvation and cleansing is given. Where is the thanksgiving? How can we go through any day without returning to the feet of Jesus and give thanks to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? We stand justified before the Father because of His power, His love, His mercy and His gift of Jesus Christ. Today I say thank you.