Lessons from Lepers in Luke

In the Gospel According to St. Luke chapter 17, the encounter between Jesus and ten men who had leprosy is recorded. Now leprosy is a condition so undesirable that whoever had it had to remain separated from the general population. In fact, those who had leprosy had to announce their arrival. In Luke 17:12, we are told that the men “stood at a distance” and raised their voices pleading for mercy. Jesus acknowledged them and told them to go show themselves to the priest. As they were going, we are told, they were cleansed. One of them saw this, turned back, and glorified God with a loud voice. He fell on his face and gave thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. (Samaritan=Insert name of whatever person or group you deem most undesirable to associate with.)
When Jesus saw the man, he asked a question of the Samaritan. He said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” (emphasis mine) Jesus marveled at a couple of things. He seems surprised that those who should be obviously thankful were not; and he seems surprised that those who should not be expected to give glory to God were doing just that.
The lesson is apparent. God has blessed us and given us more than we can ever ask or think and takes care of us in ways that often we cannot see or imagine. The United States government has set aside a holiday to remind us to be thankful on the fourth Thursday in November, but God wants us to “always give thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (Ephesians 5:20)


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