Hi friends, happy thanksgiving! When I think of a thanksgiving story in the Scriptures, the first thing that comes to mind is of the ten lepers who called on to Jesus. The whole narrative is found in Luke 17:11-19. The story of the Ten Lepers Healed is about mercy, faith, and healing but most of all, it is an important lesson on gratitude. In fact, my favorite part of the story is when one of the lepers came back to show his thankfulness to Jesus.
The story goes…
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 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.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?
18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
Luke 17:11-19 NKJV
Leprosy is a dreadful and debilitating infectious disease that causes severe damage to the skin and nerves that result in disfigurement of the arms and legs. From the ancient times up until today, people who are affected by it are often shunned as outcasts of society.
I can only imagine how the 10 lepers might have felt at the time of their hopelessness. In their need, they seek out for help but people, including friends and family, must have run away from them. Then they met Jesus. They somehow must have heard about Jesus and how He healed the sick, comforted the grieving, and offered hope and kindness because they implored Him, “Master, have mercy on us!”. With compassion, Jesus recognized their need and instructed them to go and see the priests.
In their obedience, all ten men got what they needed — physical healing. It was a time of rejoicing! Oh, how happy they must have felt. But in their celebration, they forgot something — to give thanks! As Cambridge School of Bible and Colleges puts it:
Ingratitude is one of the most universal and deeply seated of human vices, and our Lord was perfectly familiar with it. But in this instance He was moved by the depth of this thanklessness in so many recipients of so blessed a favour. Hence His sorrowful amazement. He felt as if all His benefits “were falling into a deep silent grave.”
“Blow, blow, thou winter wind;
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude.”
All of them forgot to be grateful, except for one. One healed man, a Samaritan, came back to see Jesus. He fell on His knees and in deep gratitude and a heart full of joy gave glory to God. He came back and thanked Jesus. By expressing his thankfulness, this man showed that he recognized the Master Healer. What an amazing act of humility — an act that is so often ignored.
“Your faith has made you well.”
All of them acted in faith and obedience and they received physical healing, but the one man who came back to give thanks, received more than just that. His spirit was healed. Out of the ten, this man got higher spiritual healing. It is because of his thankfulness that he alone received great benefits of God’s salvation.
Are we one of the nine? Or are we the one who came back to Jesus and said, “thank you”? This thanksgiving, think of the many ways you have received kindness and help in your time of need and return the favor. Express your gratitude to someone even just by simply saying “thank you”.
May you and yours have a wonderful celebration of God’s blessings to you!