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And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. Luke 17:15 KJV
Less than four weeks till Christmas and I am pleased that you are taking a few minutes out of what can be an incredibly busy time to look again at Jesus’ healing of the 10 lepers and the impact this miracle can have in our lives. This week we will focus on the example of gratitude that the “10th leper” set in his encounter with Jesus so long ago. What is true thankfulness? Is it a feeling? A thought? An action? When should we be thankful? When we get what we want? When we succeed? During struggles? To whom and how do we express our gratitude? How does being grateful affect us? I am hopeful we can better grasp the spiritual importance of the old AA recovery circle adage of, “Have an attitude of gratitude”.
You may know the story by now, 10 men with leprosy call out to Jesus as He entered a small village on His way through Samaria and Galilee. They asked Jesus in unison for mercy as they suffered with one of the most tragic and humiliating conditions known to man at the time, leprosy. I am sure the mere mention of the word back then created such an intense sense of fear and panic that we struggle to relate. If you contracted leprosy not only was death imminent, but you were going to die away from normal contact with family and friends, isolated either by yourself or with others who shared your condition. Possibly even worse was the fact that you were now deemed “Unclean” per the Old Testament Law which meant you were unfit for worshipping God at the Temple.
Jesus responded to the lepers’ pleas for mercy with a simple command. He told them to go immediately and show themselves to the local priest. The priests of the day appeared to also be the local health department because they had the authority to examine and declare a person “clean”. The lepers do as Jesus instructed and they soon realize that their faith and compliance has resulted in their complete healing. We never hear from nine of the lepers again, but the 10th leper returns to Jesus literally screaming his gratitude for the world to hear. Can you imagine his excitement? From a shameful lonely death sentence to a complete return to normal life and loved ones.
The 10th leper now does something that I believe touched Jesus’ heart in a very special way. He doesn’t just express his gratitude verbally, Luke writes in verse 16 of chapter 17 that “He fell down on his face at His (Jesus) feet giving Him thanks.” In all of his excitement he not only took a moment to publicly thank Jesus; his thankfulness led him to WORSHIP! Allowing our gratitude to lead us to praise and worship God will be the focus of our devotions this week.
Take a moment to write or mentally list 8 to 10 things in which you are most thankful. I hope that we can all gain a more clear vision of our many blessings.
“The greater our present trials, the louder our future songs be, and the more intense our joyful gratitude.” Charles Spurgeon