Luke 17:12-19 (NLT)
12As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
15One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
17Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
I don’t think it’s too surprising that the nine men forgot to come and say “thank you” to Jesus. In fact, it was almost expected.
See, when you had leprosy, you had more problems than just your skin ailment. Leprosy was contagious, and without decent medical care, the only thing society could do to stop the spread of the disease was send the lepers out of town. That’s right, if you had leprosy, you had to live out in the wilderness with other lepers. And when you had to go someplace, like to the well for water, you had to yell out “unclean” as you went so that people could avoid you. Unclean? That means dirty. These people weren’t dirty, they were sick. How terribly humiliating and unfair?
And did you know that it was illegal for a person with leprosy to touch another person? Can you imagine being sick but not being able to experience the comfort of a hug from your mom?
Who knows how long some of these guys had been separated from their friends and family? It had probably been years for some of them. So, when they discovered they had been healed, their only thoughts were probably getting back to their homes and hugging their moms and wives and kids. In their great joy, they simply forgot to say thank you. I think I may well have done the same thing.
Jesus doesn’t condemn the men, but he does make a point of calling it to our attention. That leads me to believe that he understands why we sometimes forget to give thanks but also thinks we can do better. And we should do better.
What “thank yous” have you forgotten lately? Consider your parents, teacher, and close friends. Consider God. Take some time to lift up some authentic praise for all these blessings.
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