"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:11-19
My daughter asked me to write on this verse last week. She is working on having an "attitude of gratitude" and filling her heart with thanksgiving. She deeply feels that we take so much that God has given us for granted.
Leprosy is an ugly, deforming disease caused by a bacterium which affects primarily the peripheral nerves, eyes and face. It still exists today under the name Hansen’s disease and it is estimated that in 1995 two to three million people had been deformed by it. In 2008 there were over 212,000 reported cases of the disease. The good news is that they now have successful treatment for it.
The pictures touched me and I tried to imagine being one of those lepers who encountered Christ…
My name does not matter. No one uses it anymore, to them I am nothing. I am a mere “leper” relegated to the outside of town and I know that I am considered unclean and to be avoided. Not only avoided but shunned because this ravaging disease is considered an outward sign of my inner sin. As if in a horrible nightmare each day I am becoming more and more hideous looking as this curse continues to deform me physically.
I wallow in hopelessness as the feeling of isolation overwhelms me. If I walk near a person I am required by law to shout: “unclean, unclean”. I am tormented searching my soul to know what sin was so grievous that I am inflicted with this punishment. Depression sinks in knowing this is a death sentence… a lonely, slow death sentence with no one to comfort me.
There are rumors that a Jewish teacher actually touched a leper and cured him. He touched a leper! No one touches us. No one even comes near us.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy." When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.
If it is true, maybe, just maybe He would cure me. A group of us lepers got word of this. Jews and Samaritans alike (the disease does not play favorites). To go to where the Jewish teacher called Jesus would be is not allowed because many people gather wherever He is. But what do we have to lose? If someone kills us for being there, it would be a welcome end to this never ending misery. Besides they fear us too much to come close.
After much labored walking, we saw Him on the road and hollered: “Jesus, Master. Have pity on us!” He did! Can you imagine the joy (after years of being spit at, isolation and depression, never being touched) of a restored body? Of my skin feeling soft again, my eyes regaining their sight, my oozing sores healed and the damage that the disease inflicted upon me being reversed! Oh my goodness, what an incredible miracle!
My first thought was to run back to my family and show them I had been restored. I could hug my loved ones and eat at their table! The other lepers must have felt the same way because they were celebrating (some were leaping) and running in different directions. Then it hit me if the disease was a sign of my sin did that mean I am healed of my sins too? I now felt cleaner than I ever had, even before this scourge came into my life. Who was that Jesus who healed me?
I swiftly changed directions and began running to Him. I started yelling out loud “praise be to God” and when I reached the Teacher, the healer, the forgiver of my sins…I collapsed at His feet. I was overwhelmed by His grace crying “thank you, thank you, praise be to God!”
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
It seems obvious to us that the leper should return in thanksgiving after having such a great miracle in his life. But if you think about it, don't we all have so much to be daily thankful for? Life at times gets overwhelming and we loose that sense of thanksgiving that the leper must have felt. As with so much in our relationship with Jesus, thankfulness is a choice. We can allow ourselves to take for granted that we have a roof over our head, food on our tables, a bed to sleep on or we can choose to be thankful for the gifts in our lives... tiny or big.
My new prayer is that I may have the heart of that leper, that I will run to my God, fall on His feet in thanksgiving and praise!
I am in pain and distress;
may your salvation, O God, protect me.
I will praise God's name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>Below are some wonderful CAST Team items that give us great choices in expressing our thanks. Please click and heart them!
Gourd of plenty by ASenseofPlacePhotography
Lilac & Amethyst necklace by JewelsbyTrish
Happy Thanksgiving boy by kaleighbugkards