There is a story (parable) in the book of Luke about Jesus healing 10 Lepers . It seems so straight forward that it’s easy to read and move on. I’m sure I’m not the only one who missed some important details. Here’s the story .
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 27 NIV
We learned today that their bodies were healed instantly , meaning their rotting skin and disintegrating or missing body parts grew back . Can you imagine ? They were all eventually going to die from the horrible disease of leprosy up until the moment Jesus healed them. But strangely only one of the ten returned to express his gratitude . We aren’t told what the others did , but we can assume they went to the authorities to be declared healed so they could re-enter society . I’m sure they were very happy ! But the one who turned back , he had been healed in another way.
Jesus told the Samaritan , an enemy of the Jews, that his FAITH had saved him. His gratitude was an expression of what was in his heart, the understanding that only God could do this miracle . Jesus saw that this man believed in God. Although he had compassionately healed all ten lepers, only this man demonstrated a change of heart.
This reminds me of how Jesus didn’t always limit his miracles to believers . He fed the thousands knowing that many were there listening to him with the wrong motives. He did miracles for his own reasons , out of obedience to his Father. Some saw them and accused him of being demon-possessed . Others declared that he was the Son of God.
What struck me today while listening to the story was that this story seems to be simply that God wants us to be thankful for his mercy , and yes, he does. But also it teaches that not everyone will thank God for the mercies they receive . All of us live in a beautiful world that God made, but not everyone believes in Him. We all benefit daily from God intervening on our behalf, healing diseases we may not even be aware of yet , diverting danger , guiding us through trouble , and providing the basics and luxuries for us. And yet , myths like Evolution and denial of absolute truth are flourishing .
People sometimes wonder how they can know if they’re truly saved from the punishment of sin . If you are saved you will feel gratitude to God like this one leper ! You will recognize that you were a rotten , terminal , outcast from heaven until Jesus worked the miracle of salvation trough his death and resurrection . Your skin may not have been rotting but your soul was and you were lost and separated from your father God . You know you’re not perfect in your daily life , although you’re trying to let God change you , and you feel grateful that Jesus has forgiven you already. You know that your good behavior doesn’t save you, only Jesus could do that.
If you don’t feel a deep sense of gratitude , turn to God . Let go of the pride that is your false hope. Everything you have is thanks to God’s mercy and patient love for you . Will you believe it ?