By Jimmy Mickells
"Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well" (Luke 17:11-19).
There are several lessons for us contained in this passage. Let me point out just a few obvious ones. It is my hope and prayer that by doing this we can avoid committing the terrible sin of these nine lepers and that we might manifest the spirit shown by this Samaritan.
- The Compassion of our Lord. We find in this story Jesus going to Jerusalem, passing through Samaria and Galilee, encountering ten leprous men. They cry out for mercy, our Lord sees them, having compassion upon these individuals, they are told to go show themselves to the priests (vv. 13, 14). The Bible tells us that they were cleansed of this terrible disease as they started this journey. Everyday that you and I live on this circular globe the Lord shows compassion and is merciful toward us. He provides for us both physically and spiritually. Surely we can see in numerous ways the care and concern of the Lord day by day.
- Jesus expected them to be thankful. He asked, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine" (v. 17). Have you ever helped someone that was not grateful for what you did? I’m sure all of us have at some point in our lives. How did it make you feel? Did it trouble you? I’m sure it did. Could we be guilty of this same offence? Absolutely! Do you ever stop and count your blessings? Once you have counted them, if you do, do you ever get on your knees and thank the One through whom all blessing come? It is so easy for us to complaint when things don’t go just like we think they should. We truly live in a country that flows with milk and honey. We are able to be a part of a spiritual family that loves, cares, supports, encourages, and even will reprove and rebuke when necessary. We have a God whose ears are open to our prayers as we serve Him. How thankful should we be?
- Even greater blessings were enjoyed by the one who was grateful. All ten of these men were cleansed of their leprosy (v. 14). Yet the Samaritan received the cleansing of his soul. Jesus told him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well" (v. 19). Which was the greater blessing, the cleansing of the body or of the soul? I think we all know the answer! It seems to me that this indicates that if one is not thankful for his material blessings, he will not be the beneficiary of the spiritual blessings that are offered through the atoning blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet I wonder how many of us deem the physical blessings greater than the blessings that we have in Christ? How thankful are we for what God has and continually does for us through His Son?
- Ingratitude is a terrible sin! Moses warned the children of Israel not to forget the Lord when they entered the promise land (Deut. 6:10-25). He reminded them that they would eat from vines and trees that did not plant and that they would drink from wells, which they did not dig. They did not heed the warnings sounded by this man of God. They did forget the Lord. They were not thankful to God for all that He had done for them and they were taken captive from the land. Paul, in discussing the sins of the Gentiles in Romans 2, told of how evil and wicked that they had become. At least a part of what lead to their depths of degradation, they were unthankful and unappreciative to God (Romans 2:21,22).
May the Lord help us to see what great sin ingratitude really is. Let each of us take to heart the instruction given by Paul in the book of Colossians, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Col. 3:15).