In the book of Luke there is a story about Jesus healing ten lepers. Leprosy is a disease of the skin. It is contagious and because of this in biblical times Lepers had to live apart from the rest of the people. Because of that it was very socially isolating. So in this story Jesus enters a village and there were ten men living apart from the rest of society who stood at a distance and they started shouting to Jesus.
“And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master have mercy on us.’” Luke 17:12-13
“When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14
An interesting note of this story, Jesus doesn’t heal them and then tell them to go show themselves. Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priests and AS THEY WENT they were cleansed! They had to be obedient for the healing to come. Just a side thought here, how many times do I pray for Jesus to act and I feel He is telling me to do something, but I dig my heels in and think I will just stay where I am UNTIL he acts. It was an act of obedience and faith that the lepers started toward where the priests were before they were healed. Their healing came in the going. It came in the obedience and in the walking out their faith.
But our story today is really about what happened next.
“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:16
This one man out of the ten, headed toward the priest in obedience to Jesus’ directive, but when his healing came, it wasn’t the priest he wanted to see. He wanted to see Jesus. I love the gratitude he felt toward Jesus. I love that he fell on his face at Jesus feet giving him thanks. This man, knew that he had received the blessing of physical healing from Jesus and he was grateful. Now the other men may have been grateful to a degree too. But it seems that they forgot to whom they should be grateful. They probably went on to the priests, they would have had to in order to be deemed cleansed to re-enter society. And they probably took part in a religious ceremony. But this Samaritan, he chose Jesus above the religious ceremony. The nine forgot to say thanks to the one who had really healed them. I wonder how many times I forget to say thanks to him for the blessings that he gives me. I pray I am always found saying thank you to Him who has blessed me far beyond what I can expect or hope for. I want to throw myself at His feet and be grateful.
Jesus response to this man carries the healing beyond the physical.
“Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’” Luke 17:17-19
Because of his gratitude this man’s healing was not just physical. When Jesus tells him to “rise and go your way, your faith has made you well” he was also healing his heart. Gratitude has a way of doing that. The same goes for us, when we practice gratitude we will find a healing taking place in our hearts. If you heart is hurting try practicing gratitude. Walk toward the healing even before it comes. How do we do that? By doing our every day life to the best of our ability. Just do the thing, get up, go to work, stay in your community. Live it out, walk it out, whatever your “it” may be. And when we are walking in obedience to him, as we go, we will be blessed and we will find our answers, at least we will find some of them, and as we are grateful to Him, He will also heal our hearts!
Today I am thankful to Him for all the many ways He has healed my heart. He has healed my heart from grief, hurt, confusion, and my very own sin over and over again! May I always be found on my face at His feet, saying THANKS!