So Jesus ... said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Luke 17:17.
The word has spread that Jesus is in town. Among all the exicted people hoping to see or receive a miracle, 10 lepers await afar off, determined to intercept Him to ask Him to heal them.
Luke says, “They lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’” And He calls out, “Go show yourselves to the priests!” The whole lot begins to shuffle off down the road to find a priest.
Luke announces the miracle succinctly: “And . . . as they went, they were cleansed.”
But “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.”
Why didn’t the others return to thank Jesus? Let’s hear their answers:
No. 1 “Quite frankly, because I felt I deserved it. I’ve lived a good life.I should never have gotten leprosy in the first place.”
No. 2. I wanted to see if his healing would last.
No. 3. I’ll say thanks when it’s convenient, but there’s no rush. He knows how I feel.”
No. 4. “What did it cost Him? Nothing, really.”
No. 5. “Now that I have my health, I will take care of myself and do what I can to help others. Don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about who gets the credit.”
No. 6. One was glad to be well, but was troubled that Jesus treated everyone as if they were equally deserving.
No. 7. “I was sure someone else would express appreciation on behalf of all of us, and as it turns out, I was right.”
No. 8. “I guess I didn’t feel it mattered that much to Him.”
No. 9. “Too busy.”
We have a choice: either we educate ourselves to face the world with gratitude always on the tips of our tongues, or we face the future with a lot of regret.
Before we leave our nine healthy, and unthankful former lepers, can we agree that they probably experienced a lot of regret in the days and years that followed?
It may well have been that Jesus’ crucifixion was the next news they heard of Him.
In any case, while we dally, the river of life flows on, carrying people away and out of our lives. Like the nine ungrateful lepers, by the time we wake up, our benefactors have moved away, gone to their graves, or just disappeared from our radar. Timing is crucial.
“In every thing give thanks (Today!): for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
Lee Roy Holmes is a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor. He lives in College Place. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.