Thursday, November 5, 2009

November 5, 2009

"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
Few people are more hopeless or helpless than a leper. Not only did they have an incurable disease but they were social outcasts separated from loved ones and despised by all.
When they heard that this Jesus was passing through their region a strange and unfamiliar emotion began to stir within them - hope. Having heard of the miracles He had worked for others, they knew He was their one and only chance. So, they positioned themselves along the route He would be taking and there they waited and there they hoped.
At long last He came. There were so many people between Him and them. Those others blocked their view. A sense of desperation began to arise as they feared they might miss this chance. With a boldness born of fear one of them cried out to Him, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us."
He heard them. He halted. He located them and spoke to them, "Go show yourselves to the priests."
It was an unusual request. It was a risky one, too, because priests had nothing to do with lepers. But as they reponded in obedience, as they hurried to see the priest, a miracle occured! Their rotted flesh was gone and new, healthy flesh appeared! The incurable was cured. The untouchable became huggable. The outcasts were again mainstream!
What joy they must have felt! How radically their lives had changed! In an instant they were whole. In a moment they went from hoping to having. What they thought to be true and what they felt to be true, was verified and made official when they were declared clean by the priests!
Now they could return to their families! Now they could resume their careers! If you had been away from your family for years, if you had not been able to hold your wife or hug your children where you would go once you were healed?
We know where one of them went - back to Jesus to tell Him, "Thanks!" We're not so sure about the other nine, we can only guess. Jesus noticed and commented on it, "Where not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?"
Very revealing. Could Jesus understand their joy at being able to return to their families? Sure. Wasn't that part of the reason why He healed them? Absolutely! But did He excuse them for doing so? No, He didn't. There is no excuse for unthankfulness. Not then. Not ever.
So, what's the lesson for you? You cannot let anyone or anything be more important than Jesus. You must serve Him and worship Him for Who He is not what He can do.
The other nine wanted something FROM Him, the Samaritan wanted Him. They got healed, he was healed AND made spiritually whole. His thankfulness launched him on a life of thanksgiving.
Until you become thankful for Who Jesus is, to you, you will never be thankful for what He does for you.