Encountering Christ in Thankfulness

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

The lepers stood at a distance from Jesus.  Their illness prevented them from truly being able to approach Him and get close to Him.  They were only able to say to Him, from a distance , “Have pity on us!”  They did not know Jesus, they were not followers of His.  They obviously had heard of Him and knew that Jesus may be able to help them.  Amazingly, Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest, and they go, before there are any signs of healing.  This act of faith and obedience gave way to their being cleansed.  However, only one of them returns to thank Jesus and give Him praise.  What was the mindset of the other nine?  I believe that they were amazed and extremely glad of their healing.  They could now join re-join their families and society.  They could now work again and be productive citizens.  Their physical ailment was healed, but they remained self centered and self concerned.  Because of this, they missed a key opportunity to go back to Jesus out of gratitude, to thank Him and learn more from Him and about Him.  To the one who did go back and threw himself at Christ’s feet, He says, “Stand up, your faith has saved you.”  This man was not just healed of his physical illness, he truly encountered Jesus, was noticed by Our Lord for His gratitude, and He came to know Jesus as a Savior who could heal him completely, and give him strength to stand and be on his way, with the knowledge that he has been saved.  And it is important that this man was a Samaritan, one who most Jews at the time of Jesus would have written off as unholy, as sinful.  This man had the humility and gratitude to return to thank Our Lord.

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