While enjoying time with family and friends this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to give thanks to the LORD. There is an event in the life of Jesus Christ that helps us to remember to give thanks to God. Our degree of need, when it is met by God, compels us to show Him heart-felt gratitude.
“Now it happened as went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him 10 men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’
So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And 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. So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not 10 cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well’” (Luke 17:11-19).
This passage of Scripture teaches us two powerful lessons, one on how to have our needs met by God and the other on gratitude to God.
Ten lepers are healed by Jesus. These men had leprosy, the most feared disease of that day. They were desperate for help and healing. When we sense a need so desperately that nothing can stop us from reaching Jesus, our needs will be met.
There was humility. They “stood afar off.” Every man must recognize his uncleanness in approaching Jesus. He must come to Christ in humility.
There was a cry for mercy. Jesus, the Chief, the Master has the power to meet our physical and spiritual needs. The lepers recognized Jesus to be the Master who could cleanse both the body and spirit, who could give them both healing and forgiveness of sins. So, they all believed and obeyed Jesus. They were cleansed “as they went.”
Now, the lesson on being thankful ...
All the lepers were blessed and should have been thankful to Jesus. This was true of the 10 lepers, and it should be true of us.
One leper did give thanks. He glorified God immediately. He worshipped Jesus, even though he was a Samaritan, the most despised and rejected of men.
Most did not give thanks. They kept going about their business and life as usual. They did not stop what they were doing nor return to the Lord to give thanks. We can safely assume that they returned to the lives they used to live, healed but not changed.
Christ expects us to return to Him continually, to glorify, and worship Him as the Source of our power and strength for life.
The most rejected was the most thankful. The leper had felt his need more keenly and deeply. He knew he needed to be saved, genuinely saved — spiritually as well as physically.
The grateful and thankful leper was the man who received assurance of being cleansed and of having his sins forgiven. The other nine lepers failed in being grateful and thankful. Gratitude and praise stirs Christ to speak to our hearts, giving us assurance of His acceptance and cleansing.
This Thanksgiving, and every day, let us give thanks to the LORD, the One who has given us “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). Above all, God gave us His Son Jesus, to die on the Cross, so that we could have forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life with Him. The Bible says, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Editor’s note: Rev. Blackmon is pastor of Faith Baptist Fellowship Church at 1312 Race St. in Cambridge.