a Devotion for 21 October 2022 Anno Domini
“Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Gratitude is a debt owed to God or even man by whom we have been benefitted. It is a gross neglect of duty and virtue to forfeit payment of that debt. Such a breach of honor and virtue is call INGRATITUDE.
In the account of the Ten Lepers who appealed to Christ for mercy, we have a vivid example of both gratitude and ingratitude. “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (Luke 17:11-13) This was a profoundly grave request coming from those men whose life had been ruined by leprosy as their bodies slowly rotted away as the candle of life ebbed and flickered. They had been alienated from polite society, family and friends perhaps for years, or tens of years, and were relegated colonies of like victims of that deadly disease. They could not approach a non-leper in less than fifty paces and were required to shout, “Unclean, unclean.” What a miserable plight was theirs as they awaited the touch of the angel of death to relieve them of their worldly misery.
The good Lord never declined to grant healing to all who came within His purview with such an appeal. He often led with a proclamation of the forgiveness of their sins prior to the healing of their bodies. He treated the most serious affliction (sin) first on most occasions; however, on this occasion, our Lord did not pronounce that forgiveness of sins. Perhaps He saw a condition in the hearts of the men that would lead to an illustration to us on the importance of gratitude. In the next verse, Jesus makes this statement: “And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.” (Luke 17:14) It was the custom for a leper to be pronounced clean on those rare exceptions of healing by a priest.
These ten men all had faith that Christ could heal them. They demonstrated that fact by their appeal to Him for healing. That faith also extended to obedience to His counsel to go and show themselves to the priest. Their obedience thus far resulted in their discovery that they had been healed. We pray for God’s guidance and must take steps to comply with it even if we do not at first see the end. We must begin to go on the way He points just as did the ten lepers.
As they walked, the lepers discovered they were healed. What joyful expectation arose in their bosoms. They would soon be declared clean by the priest and be able to return to the comfort of home and loved ones. They simply could not wait. And all due to the power of the Lord who healed them – that was the salient point in the whole of the matter. All the goodness they felt was due to the mercy of the Lord. As the ten hurried to see the priest, one of them hesitated, looked at his healed limbs, and was overcome with gratitude. He turned his eyes back to the way he had come in leaving the presence of Christ. Beat upon his chest and ran back to the One who made his healing possible. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:15-16)
Not only was this one who returned an outcast because of leprosy, but also by being of the race of Samaritan who were hated by the Jews. The only one of the ten to return in gratitude was a Samaritan. Jesus made a meaningful point in emphasizing that fact. It is not our race of blood by which we are saved, but by the nature of our hearts. “And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:17-19) This last sentence bears profound implications. Ten lepers came to Christ dying from the affliction of leprosy. Nine were healed in body, but one was healed in body and soul. He was the only one of the ten who was made whole. All ten had faith to believe the counsel of Christ, but only one had the faith to return ion gratitude to his Lord.