Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” –Luke 17:11-19
Think about all we’ve seen and learned about Jesus so far. He’s the Life of the party, the good King who is in the process of undoing all sadness and death and sin, and who invites us to join his kingdom celebration. He’s the Bread of life, who multiplies food out of thin air, the only One who can fill us up with happiness forever. He has compassion on lepers; he loves the unlovable, touches the untouchable, forgives the unforgivable. He is the God who rules over every wind and wave, and walks on the water just to prove to his friends that he is there to take care of them. He’s gentle and powerful, raising the dead and befriending the worst people, all because he is a Savior who came to seek and save the lost. He loves being interrupted, loves forgiving sin, and loves celebrating when sinners come home.
What’s the right response to a King like this? How should we respond to how wonderful and good and kind and strong and loving Jesus is? The way we should respond is: thanksgiving. If you know and love Jesus—if he has forgiven all your sin, made you God’s child, and brought you into the kingdom party that lasts forever—you should be overflowing with thankfulness for how wonderful he has been to you. So why is that, so often, we don’t thank him?
That’s the point of this story. Ten lepers—remember how gross and terrible leprosy is?—begged Jesus to heal them, and because Jesus loves gross people, he gladly healed them. They all ran away, happy to be free of the terrible disease. Jesus had made them better, and they couldn’t wait to get their lives back, and go home to their friends and family. But one leper turned around. I’m sure he wanted to go home too, but at that moment one person was way more important to him than all his other friends and family. He wanted to go back to Jesus.
He fell down at Jesus’ feet, overwhelmed with thankfulness. He was so glad, so amazed that Jesus had took pity on him, so in awe of how great and wonderful Jesus was, that he just wanted to stay there forever, thanking Jesus over and over again.
You see, that one leper understood what the other nine didn’t. They had gotten their healing and were happy about it, I’m sure. But they missed the main thing: that all the miracles, all the healings, are all about Jesus: they’re to show us how wonderful he is, and make our hearts overflow with thankfulness.
So think about all the ways that Jesus has been kind to you. You have a family and a home and friends and toys and a million blessings. But far more than that, you have a Savior who loves you, who went to the cross to forgive you, who invites you into his never-ending party.
So how thankful are you?