“…ten men who were lepers…” (Luke 17:12).
Lepers were outcasts in society. Unable to participate in normal daily activities, unable to go to the temple to worship God, even unable to be with their family. These ten lepers encountered Jesus and did two positive things. But 9-of-10 lepers also did two sad things.
(+) They knew to call on Jesus for help—“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
(+) They took Jesus at His word. Their healing happened as they obeyed Christ’s words—“‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.”
(-) Only one cleansed leper came back to praise God for his healing.
(-) Only one was pronounced “well” by Jesus. All ten lepers were “cleansed,” which simply meant they were ceremonially clean and could once again participate in daily life and temple worship. But only one was made completely “well.” The Greek word is sozo, which means saved from eternal destruction. The same word is used to describe what Jesus came to do for us: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save [sozo] His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
“What a rare thing is thankfulness.… ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?’ The lesson before us is humbling, heart-searching, and deeply instructive. The best of us are far too like the nine lepers. We are more ready to pray than to praise, and more disposed to ask God for what we have not, than to thank Him for what we have. … If we would be anxious for nothing, we must make our requests known to God not only with prayer and supplication, but with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6).” —J.C. Ryle (emphasis mine)
Probably all of us experience daily blessings from our good God, yet many of us never acknowledge Him as the Source of those blessings. We just accept the blessing and then keep on walking.
Let’s be the 1-in-10!
Let’s be quick to recognize God’s blessings. Let’s always remember that He does more than give us strength for today, but He saves [sozo] us entirely from eternal destruction. Let’s be the ones who always return—day after day after day—to give glory to God!