I just want to say “Thank You!” Part I

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While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised 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 were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified and on His round about way He heals ten men who had a skin disease. Because of their disease they were not allowed to be among the regular folk to prevent the disease from spreading. They asked Jesus to do something for them that no one else could do. You see, while leprosy may be curable today because of modern medicine, it was a death sentence during Biblical days. Jesus responds to them by simply telling them to show themselves to the priest which is the same as saying, I have already healed you. Showing themselves to the priest is today’s equivalent of having a doctor’s exam. Once the priest verified that the previously sick men were healed, they could rejoin society.

Each of the lepers displayed a certain amount of faith in Jesus because the account says that when they took their first step in response to Jesus’ request to go, they were not yet healed. They were actually healed as they were on their way to the priest. The account says that one of the men turned back when he saw that his skin disease had been healed. Whether he came back before he went to see the priest or afterwards, one thing is clear about him that is not true of the others. He felt compelled to glorify God for receiving an answer to prayer.

Most of us experience God’s goodness in our lives everyday. We do not even have to have a personal relationship with God to experience God’s goodness like sunshine, rain, love and friendship. He provides for us even before we acknowledge Him. Before I had a relationship with God, when good and wonderful things happened in my life, I rarely thought of God as the source. I could live everyday without thinking about how the sun warms the earth or how rain provides food. I simply enjoyed laying on the beach soaking in the sun while I ate my favorite boardwalk fries. What happens in this account is that nine of the men who receive God’s provision enjoy His unilateral love without acknowledging Him as the source of a good and wonderful thing. This, however, is obviously a problem. Jesus asks where they are.

Only one man of the ten came back to thank God for doing for him what no one else could do. Only one man of the ten had a heart perceptive enough to recognize the miracle that had taken place. The others saw that their skin had been healed, but only one understood that God provides the sun that warms the beach and the rain that grows the potato. Gratitude arises when we recognize that what we have received we do not deserve.

In this season of thanksgiving, while the nine are taking for granted the kindness of God and the people in their lives, we need to strive to be like the one who acknowledged God.

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