By CRAIG HARRIS
Luke 17: 11-19 (NIV): 11 Nowon his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, showyourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
Leprosy is called Hansen’s Disease today and is treatable. It is a bacterial infection that does terrible things to you if you do not treat it. In Bible times, people feared it, and rightly so. They thought it was more contagious than it really was, though, and one of the worse things about having it was victims were cast from their families.
These lepers seemed to have positioned themselves to encounter Jesus as he passed by. They knew who he was and that he could heal them. They cried out for mercy. Jesus had pity on them and told them to go to the priests.
Leviticus 14 explains that a healed person must show himself to a priest, so this is what Jesus told the men to do. Remarkably, he told them to go show themselves before they were healed! The act of going proved their faith and their faith healed them. Remember, God cannot work in our lives without faith.
When all ten realized they had been healed, only one returned to thank Jesus. I want to be like that one. I don’t want to take God for granted. I want to take time to stop and thank him for his goodness. He saved me and I want to show my thanks in my lifestyle and through giving back to him. We give back through finances, talents, abilities, pausing to say thanks in worship, and by living in such a way that shows we are thankful.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel “The Dead Peasants File” are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.