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Giving Him Thanks

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 17:11-19

Why was Jesus going to Jerusalem? He was going to Jerusalem to die on a cross for your sins and mine. What he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem was the greatest event ever to occur in all of history. When I am focused on accomplishing something important, I tend to get “tunnel vision” (I tend to not be concerned about much of anything else). Praise God that my Savior is not like that. He was headed toward Jerusalem to secure the salvation of millions of people and yet he went through Samaria and Galilee because there were a relatively few number of people there who needed him. Among these people were ten lepers.

The ten had several things in common (all were lepers, all stood afar off from God, all cried out for his mercy). Since God uses leprosy to symbolize sin in his word we could say that God is showing us the common things between all sinners saved by grace (all were far off from God because of their sin and all cried out to him for mercy). So what made the one different than the others? After salvation, he went back to the one who saved him, fell at his feet, glorified him, and gave him thanks.

To the earthly mind what this one man did doesn’t make much sense. Jesus had told him to go show himself to the priests and he was on his way to do just that. Going back to Christ might have seemed, in a way, to be in conflict with what Jesus had commanded him to do. Sometimes genuine godly gratitude expresses itself in a manner that doesn’t appear to be make a whole lot of sense. We see this in the lives of many. The following are just a few examples:

  • The woman who wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair and tears 

  • The widow woman who gave her last two mites 

  • King David who danced before the LORD 

  • King David who poured out the water that his men had risked their lives to bring to him

Going back to Christ was out of this man’s way. But then Christ went out of his way for that man. Christ "must needs" do that because there were ten lepers that needed him. Shouldn't we "go out of our way" to go back to him just to give him thanks?

All ten lepers "lifted up their voices" to cry out to God for mercy but only one lifted up his voice to glorify him, and he was a stranger. This man was especially blessed for this (he had a personal conversation with Christ that none of the others did). Not only was this man blessed, but I am blessed by what this man did because God preserved this great story for me to learn from. I think that this man's testimony when he did go back to the priests must have been used of God more greatly than the other nine combined because he had spent more time with Jesus and had given him glory and thanks. Praise God! Shouldn’t I do the same?

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