Luke 17:11-19 (ESV)

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

While Jesus was traveling, ultimately heading to Jerusalem and the cross, he came to a village where ten lepers called to him from a distance. The lepers were forbidden to come near Jesus because of their horrible disease, but they had heard of the wonderful things Jesus did, so they cried out to him in desperation. Raising their voices, they begged Jesus to have mercy on them. Before Jesus did anything, he told them to go present themselves to the priests, who would pronounce them clean and able to work normally in society again. The lepers did as Jesus instructed them, and as they began their journey to see the priests, they were totally healed. One of the ten, thrilled and grateful, praised God in a loud voice and went back to see Jesus. He fell at Jesus’ feet and gave him thanks for the healing. Before the healing, he could only yell to Jesus from a distance, but now he was clean and able to approach Jesus to personally and humbly thank him. The funny thing was that the leper who returned was a Samaritan, a foreigner. The other nine were probably Jewish. Jesus then asked three questions. First he asked, “Were not ten cleansed?” Then he asked, “Where are the nine?” And finally, “Was no one giving praise to God but the foreigner?” In asking these questions, Jesus implied that all who were healed should have returned to give him thanks. After the Samaritan leper was cleansed and gave thanks to God, Jesus told him his faith had healed him. The Samaritan was now both physically and spiritually healed.

God graces both believers and unbelievers with his mercy. His kindness should lead all to repentance and faith. But most of the time, the nine will walk away unappreciative. It’s funny how people often shake their fists at God when things go wrong, yet fail to give him thanks when things go right. Real faith is demonstrated through thankfulness. A thankless attitude reflects a faithless heart. God continually does so much for us that we can grow numb to his favor and feel as if we have earned our blessings, sometimes even demanding more. Let us never forget that all good things come directly from him. If God has done anything for you, fall at his feet and give him thanks today.