This is a holiday weekend that is centered on giving thanks. As believers, we have a general sense that we ought to give thanks for what we have and recognize that every good gift comes from the Father. But Jesus taught that gratitude was the identifying mark of every person who responds to the gospel.
As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem he passed through an area of mixed ethnicity and encountered ten lepers. There was no cure for leprosy. These individuals had a death sentence and they were ostracized from society. Normally Jews and Samaritans did not associate with one another. But these individuals were bound together by their desperate plight. They called out to Jesus to be healed.
Jesus would heal them – but in a unique way. He instructed them to go present themselves to the priests (as the law required). And so they left Jesus in faith and they were healed as they traveled along the way. One of the implications of this arrangement was that they had to exert effort to express their gratitude to Jesus. They couldn’t simply mutter a quick “Thanks!” They had to retrace their steps to find Jesus. And of course, this is where the paths of the ten lepers diverge. Only one of them returns to give thanks. The other nine promptly forget about Jesus and resume their normal life. Jesus extends a powerful pronouncement over this one. “Rise and go your way; your faith has saved you.” All of ten of these lepers were healed of their leprosy. But only this one was saved from his sins. And this one was a Samaritan – an outsider.
There is a subtle danger for those who have grown up in the church. We can become desensitized to grace. The sobering reality is that pagan outsiders are often more sensitive to the grace, beauty and power of Christ than we who have heard of Him all our days. What does your pattern of gratitude say about your relationship to Jesus? Will you retrace your steps and take your place at the feet of Jesus today?
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