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?" (Luke 17:12-18 NKJV)
In the gospel record of Luke, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem when he is met by these lepers. They could not possibly imagine the terrible things that were waiting for him and weighing on him. Yet despite his own looming death, Jesus had time and compassion for those with troubles of their own. When they call to him for mercy, he tells them to go see the priests. When a person became defiled by certain diseases they were forbidden from rejoining the community at large until they had been declared clean by the priests.
Unlike other miracles, these men were not healed instantly, but rather after they had gone some distance on their way. Suddenly they realize they are healed! What a fantastic event! They can work again, be with their family again.
This is a wonderful event in their lives. What should they do NOW, at this moment? We have no idea what nine of them did. We only know what one of them did. He stopped where he was and returned to find Jesus. When he found Jesus, he shouted glory to God. He fell on his face at the feet of Jesus to show and say his thankfulness. Was it right for him to act this way? YES!
But Jesus has two questions for all (of us?) to consider. Nine others were made clean, why did they not return? And why did the only one to show gratitude not even belong to God’s tribe of Israel?
Are we in danger of being like spoiled children, expecting always more and more but never grateful? Have we forgotten the magnitude and source of our blessings? Perhaps it is time to return, on our faces, to Him who “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Tim. 6:17)
- Tim Orbison