by: Peter Alcivar
Luke 17:15-19 (NIV) One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising Godin 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?18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
In the story of the ten lepers that Jesus encountered who pleaded with Him for healing, we learn that only one of them returned to thank Jesus for healing him. The rest went on their way and didn’t bother. As a matter of fact, this is the only time that the Bible records anyone thanking Jesus for anything. Usually, the people that Jesus healed would either just go away happy, or go away happy and praising God, but you never read that anyone thanked Jesus except this one man. As it turns out, this man was not even one of God’s chosen people. He was a Samaritan.
If you think that God doesn’t notice when you don’t thank Him because He is God and doesn’t need to be thanked, then think again because Jesus specifically asked this man who was now healed from his leprosy where the other nine healed lepers were. It piqued his interest that the only one that did come back was not even from the house of Israel. What must have Jesus been thinking?
One thing we do know is that this man who returned to thank Jesus heard additional words from Jesus that the other nine never heard. Jesus told him that his faith had made him well. The question is, weren’t the other nine made well also? Why did Jesus even say that to this man? The answer lies in the man’s heart that was full of thanksgiving. The Bible admonishes us to give thanks for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18) because when we do, it prepares our hearts for more from God. Jesus is interested in so much more than healing us physically. You can be healed physically but be sick in your soul. Jesus wants to heal the whole person. But people that don’t have thankful hearts don’t even think of going back to Jesus for the rest of their healing. The nine lepers were healed from their leprosy, but that’s all that they received. That’s quite a lot, you may think. But if your heart and soul are not well, then you just received something that is very temporary. Being healed is a wonderful experience, but it pales in comparison to being healed body, soul and spirit. This former leper who took time to give thanks received more than just a physical healing. He was made completely well. Everything then was well with his soul.
It took a foreigner who was not even one of God’s chosen to show everyone the right way. So the question is, do we, as followers of Jesus, take time to thank Him for all that He is and all that He has done for us? Let’s learn from this foreigner and take time to give thanks to God for everything, especially the things that we usually take for granted (our spouses, our families, a roof over our heads, food on the table, etc.) and our hearts and souls will be poised and positioned to be made well by the God who heals completely. Be thankful because it has great spiritual benefits!
Pastor Joey Vazquez