The Story of the Ten Lepers
(Adapted from the sermon, A Living Thanksgiving)
“One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.”Luke 17:15-16 (NLT)
Imagine being one of the ten lepers who met Jesus on the border between Galilee and Samaria. You have been living in isolation, shunned by society, suffering from a painful and incurable disease. You have heard of this miracle worker who can heal the sick and even raise the dead. You see him approaching and you cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looks at you and tells you to go and show yourselves to the priests. You don’t understand why, but you obey. As you go, you feel a change in your body. You look at your skin and see that it is clean and smooth. You are healed! You are overjoyed and amazed. What would you do next?
Nine of the lepers continued on their way, perhaps eager to reunite with their families, to resume their normal lives, to enjoy their newfound freedom. But one of them turned back, ran to Jesus, and thanked him with all his heart. He was a Samaritan, an outsider, a despised enemy of the Jews. Yet he was the only one who recognized the source of his healing and expressed his gratitude.
Why did the other nine not return to give thanks? What prevented them from acknowledging Jesus as their healer and savior? We don’t know for sure, but we can speculate. Maybe they felt entitled to their healing, as if Jesus owed them something. Maybe they doubted his authority and power, as if he was just a lucky charm. Maybe they were apathetic, as if they didn’t care who he was or what he did. Maybe they were proud, as if they didn’t need him or anyone else.
Whatever the reason, they missed out on a deeper relationship with Jesus, who said to the Samaritan, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Not only was he physically healed, but he was spiritually healed as well. He experienced the grace and love of God in a personal way. He was not just a recipient of a gift, but a friend of the Giver.
- How do you relate to the story of the ten lepers? Have you ever experienced God’s healing, provision, or protection in your life?
- How did you respond to God’s goodness? Did you thank him, praise him, and share your testimony with others? Or did you take it for granted, forget about it, or keep it to yourself?
- What are some possible reasons that hinder you from being grateful to God? How can you overcome them and cultivate a heart of gratitude?
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Take some time to reflect on the blessings that God has given you, both big and small. Write them down in a journal or a note app. Thank him for each one of them and praise him for his goodness and faithfulness. Share your gratitude with someone else, either by telling them what God has done for you or by sending them a message of appreciation.
LOVE IN ACTION: Think of someone who has blessed you in some way, either recently or in the past. It could be a family member, a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, or even a stranger. Show them your gratitude by doing something kind for them, such as giving them a gift, a card, a compliment, or a hug. Let them know how much they mean to you and how they have made a difference in your life.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for your amazing grace and love. Thank you for healing me, saving me, and making me your child. Thank you for all the gifts that you have given me, both physical and spiritual. Help me to always remember your goodness and to express my gratitude to you and to others. Help me to live a life of thanksgiving, not just on one day, but every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.