“Jesus said, ‘Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?’ Then He said to him, ‘Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.’”
– Luke 17:17-19 MSG
I remember how important it was for us to teach our girls respect, concern and appreciation for others. We often listened with hopeful expectancy to hear them say, “Thank you” when someone showed them kindness. It was a great day when we no longer had to prompt a proper response with, “What do you say?”. The practice of appreciation is a powerful attitude.
Paul reminds the Christ-followers in Colosse, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17). The power of Scripture is personalized when it becomes thought provoking and heart piercing. Such is the account of Jesus’ life transforming impact on ten social outsiders and cultural rejections as recalled by the physician, Luke.
A Significant Request. “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’” (Luke 17:12-13) I would imagine it was a “normal” day for Jesus. As He and His disciples were approaching a village, they were distracted by ten men shouting in the distance. Most likely, they announced that they were lepers, as was the custom of the day. They had one request . . . “Have mercy on us”. There’s was a similar request to the psalmist, David, “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” (Ps 4:1) These ten men had a distress . . . and it was their incurable disease. There was nothing they could do in their own power. Only Jesus could help.
A Supernatural Result. Luke records, “When He saw them He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed.” (Luke 17:14) I believe the result these ten received was more that what they had thought. Most scholars feel that these lepers were just looking for “handouts” or some “kindness” extended. Jesus took what they wanted and made it a wonder. He took their misery and made it a miracle. Paul reminds us, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Eph 3:20)
A Singular Response. “They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:15-16) As they went . . . “ALL TEN WERE MADE CLEAN”. Just as the request was significant, so was the result. Jesus not only healed their bodies . . . but He made them clean. John reminds us, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3) This is where the story gets a little “Hallmarky”. Of the ten, only one . . . turned around – He Realized . . . turned around and came back – He Returned . . . shouting his gratitude, glorifying God – He Rejoiced . . . and knelt at Jesus feet – He Reverenced. Our gratitude always acknowledges His glory.
A Sad Reaction. Luke tells us of Jesus’ reaction, T“Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?”. Ten healed. One grateful. Ten transformations. One testimony. Paul reminds the Ephesian followers, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Eph 2:10)
I go with the minority on this one. If I’m part of the ten, I want to be that 10 percenter.
Realize what God has done . . . Return with gratitude . . . Rejoice and give Him the glory . . . and Reverence Him in worship . . . BE THE ONE!