In every sense of the word they were unclean – physically, socially, religiously. Contagious and quarantined. Cut off from family, friends, work, and society. Outcasts. Walking pictures of sin and alienation from God. Utterly hopeless.
Yet these men had heard of Jesus. They knew the law and respected social protocol so they kept their distance. To compensate for their faint voices, they cried in unison hoping to increase their chances of being heard. “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13 NASB). They called him “Master,” “Epistates” in the Greek, “one of notable power or authority” and that He was indeed.
Jesus heard their cry and commanded, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” At this time, the law required that someone who had been healed from leprosy be examined by the priests and pronounced clean (Leviticus 14), but these guys had not yet been healed. Jesus was testing their faith! They heard, obeyed, and Dr. Luke notes, “as they were going, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14 NASB). A step of faith led to healing.
However, their healing just set the stage for Jesus’ main point of this encounter: “Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back…” (Luke 17:15 NASB). Think about it. He was healed! He could finally return to his family…perhaps his wife and children, to work, to worship, to love and be loved, to life itself! But in light of all that was soon to be restored, he first returned to Jesus! No longer speaking with a frail, damaged voice, he was “glorifying God with a loud voice.” His new life was evidenced by a new song full of glory, humility, worship, and thanksgiving as he fell on his face at the feet of Jesus “giving thanks to Him” (Luke 17:16 NASB).
But before Jesus granted him a final blessing, He asked three emphatic questions: “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?” (Luke 17:17-18 NASB).
The nine got what they wanted and were gone. Jesus noticed. He memorialized the ingratitude of the nine, but drew near to the one.
So in this unnamed village, this nameless Samaritan was used by Jesus to exemplify the kind of heart that pleases God – a grateful one. In His final blessing Jesus said, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well” (“sozo” = “whole, saved”)(Luke 17:19 NASB).
We are forgetful creatures. Far too often like the nine: more likely to pray than praise; to ask than remember to say thanks; to complain than worship; to feel entitled than show humility; to walk away than fall on our face.
Take nothing for granted.
Leave nothing unsaid.
In everything give thanks.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so… (Psalm 107:1-2 NASB).
© 2012 Tim McKenzie – www.OnEveryWord.com
What a great reminder as we head into thanksgiving. I will go back and thank Jesus for all the things he has done, or at least the things I can remember.