The cleansing of the ten lepers, a miracle story unique to Luke (17:11-19), is significant at least for two reasons:

First, in this section (Ch.16-19) which is chiefly teachings on God’s Kingdom, this healing event is inserted.

Second, Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem to suffer ‘rejection’ sets the stage for the lepers, but rather than the healing itself, Luke’s stress is on the response of praiseful thanks from one ‘Samaritan’ leper. He was one of a kind. His worshipful act reveals what lies at the heart of the gospel and demonstrates an essential aspect of the kind of faith(fulness) that ought to characterises the “saved” - thankfulness!

The one leper’s expression of gratitude serves as evidence and is a picture of salvation, that Jesus affirms, only to him (v.19). By his efforts he recognises that God was at work in Jesus and personally appropriates that amazing grace. Though socio-culturally and religiously rejected by the Jews as an ‘outsider’, he breaks away from the rest in order to return to Jesus. He throws himself at Jesus’ feet and boldly testifies. He understood something of the spiritual isolation that sin brings and is thankful for the wonderful fellowship that wholeness through Christ had brought him into.

Jesus’ three questions (v.17-18) teach us the importance of thanksgiving as a grace, divine and human. God’s grace should never be taken for granted.  It’s saving power extends beyond any human boundary and is offered to all. Often, sad but true, those whom society think deserve God’s judgment the most, are found most thankful for his mercy and grace in time of need.

Our Lord expects thanks from recipients of God’s loving forgiveness and healing power. Why is it that Christians tend to forget, ‘we are what we are’ by the grace of God, turn grace into disgrace and are often ashamed to share the gospel? Let us continually be challenged toward thanks-living. I invite you to join me in a short prayer that has changed my life with an attitude of gratitude. It simply says: “Lord, You have given me so many things, give me one more thing, give me a Thankful Heart !” Amen.

Dr. Chris Gnanakan