Luke 17:12-19 “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Leprosy was a horrible disease that caused extreme itching and scaling, and at it’s worst, caused disfigurement and loss of fingers or toes. Those inflicted were outcast of society, and would live in little groups outside of towns. Under Levitical law, they were not permitted to come near other people. This group of ten lepers called out in faith for Jesus to heal them, and Jesus told them, as an act of faith, to go show themselves to the priest; which was according to Levitical protocol. As they went, they saw that they were healed. However, only one of the ten stopped and turned back to thank Jesus.
Being so overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness to God, he shouted out praises and thanksgiving, and fell at the feet of Jesus, worshipping Him. This man was a double outcast, for he was not only a leper, but was also a Samaritan. However, because of his return to give thanks to Jesus, he was “made whole” (Gk - sozo); which means he was saved. Not only was he healed physically, he was healed spiritually. His faith had saved him.
What lessons can we learn from this Samaritan? First, we see that his being made righteous was directly linked to his thankfulness to God. Surely the righteous will give thanks and rejoice in The Lord (Ps 140:13, 97:12). Unthankfulness is the fruit of the wicked, and true believers should be thankful people (Rom 1:21, 2Tim 3:1-2). Secondly, he entered into the presence of God with thanksgiving. He came before Jesus bowing down and being thankful (Psa 100:4, 95:2, 69:30). We should not come to God complaining and murmuring. We should come rejoicing.
Thirdly, we see that he gave thanks publicly. He wasn’t concerned with what people thought. God had done great things for him, and he was going to thank God in front of everybody (Dan 6:10, Ps 35:18, 18:49, 1Chr 16:8, Ps 26:7, 107:22). The Christian should never be ashamed for openly declaring the good things God has done. He deserves our thanks and praise, and in The Bible, we have example to do it publicly.
Finally, he gave thanks willingly (Lev 22:29). Jesus did not demand that he come back and give thanks, though He did suggest it was good (Ps 92:1) and reasonable by asking where the other nine were. Though we teach our children to be thankful when they are young, we do expect them to start being thankful as an act of their will without being reminded.
We should make it a practice to count our blessings one by one, and give thanks to God for all He has done. We should be thankful for our food (Jn 6:11, 1Tim 4:3-4). We should pray with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6, Col 4:2, 1Tim 2:1). We should abound (overflow) with thanksgiving to God (Col 2:7, 2Cor 9:11, Eph 5:4). A mature believer abounds with thanksgiving, while an immature one does not.
It is God’s will that we give thanks in everything (1Thess 5:18). Be thankful in all you say and do (Col 3:17). Be thankful for all things - good or bad (Eph 5:20). Not that God causes the bad, but that He will somehow work even the bad out for our good (Rom 8:28). Let us praise God continually, our mouth speaking His praises (Heb 13:15). May we give thanks to God forever and ever, Amen (Ps 30:12).
Amidst the family, feasting, and football this Thursday; let us take time to count our blessings and be truly thankful to God for all He is and all He does on our behalf. He is good and gracious, and His mercy endures forever (Ps 136:1-3, 26). Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!