On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  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.”  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.  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.  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 17:11–19)
There are parallels between the experience of the ten lepers with Jesus and our experience with God.
- The lepers were powerless to heal themselves; we were powerless to earn the forgiveness of our sins.
- Jesus graciously healed the lepers; Jesus graciously earned our forgiveness of sins.
- The lepers had visible affirmation of the healing when they went to the priests; we have evidence of our forgiveness in baptism.
Reflect on this: Who do we more accurately parallel at the end of the account? Are we more similar to the nine healed lepers, who seemingly took healing for granted and failed to thank Jesus? Or are we more like the Samaritan, who returned to give Jesus thanks?
The answer to these questions comes from personal reflection. Do we express our gratitude to God in prayer? Is our worship driven by thankfulness for God’s grace? Do we encourage fellow believers by sharing our joy for the forgiveness we have received?
If you discern that you do lack thankfulness to God, then keep your focus on our Lord. It is the Lord who renews our hearts. The more time we can spend in Scripture, seeing anew God’s attributes and actions, the greater opportunity God has to increase our gratitude.
(A Second Look devotions are written for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS.)