Give thanks to the LORD for he is good; his love endures forever. –1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV
Tucked away in the Gospel of Luke is the account of Jesus healing ten lepers—nine verses that we may read, think we got the main idea, and move on.
Much is said about the one who, when he realized he’d been healed, returned to Jesus, threw himself down at His feet, and thanked Him.
But let’s not dismiss the other nine as totally ungrateful. Instead let’s take a closer look at this miracle—and what we can learn from it.
First, all ten lepers were in a difficult, impossible situation.
Today leprosy can be treated, but in biblical times it was a death sentence. It changed your life—you no longer had a life, except as an outcast to be shunned. You were forbidden to be in contact with family and friends. If you sneezed or coughed on someone, you’d transmit the incurable disease to them. So you were avoided at all costs.
Leprosy disfigured you. Its stench was nauseating, disgusting, and repulsive—and so were you. You lived your life as a pariah, shouting “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn others not to get near you.
So you wouldn’t be alone, you joined other lepers and wandered about the countryside, a mere beggar because you could no longer earn your livelihood and support your family. You were dependent on the mercy of others, who would slip you money or food to help you survive. You had no pride left.
Your only hope was a miracle, and the only One who performed miracles was an itinerant rabbi, the controversial Jesus of Nazareth. But, hey, He was your only chance. What could you lose if you tracked Him down and asked?
Do you find yourself in difficult circumstances? Remember, God specializes in the impossible. He wants to help you in your circumstances. They aren’t too difficult for Him. All you have to do is ask—and you don’t even have to track Him down because He’s with you all the time (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).
Second, when they asked for mercy (translate: miracle), Jesus told them to do something.
No words of healing were spoken. No curing touch given. Just a command to “go, show yourselves to the priests”—the normal procedure the Jew was to follow when his leprosy was gone.
They didn’t question. They didn’t argue. They probably didn’t understand the command—but they obeyed.
“And as they went,” Luke tells us, “they were miraculously healed and made clean” (Luke 17:14 AMP).
Remember, although only one returned to say thank you, all ten obeyed. Sometimes God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense and that you don’t understand. Obedience is prerequisite to the miracle.
Third, all ten had faith enough to ask and faith enough to obey, even though at the start of their walk to show themselves to the priests, there was no change in their condition. Their faith wasn’t in what they could see, in their appearance, or in anything tangible.
“Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP).
Where are you putting your faith? In what you can see, hear, and experience with your physical senses?
Or in the promises of a God
- who walks with you through the difficult (Psalm 23:4),
- who is bigger than the impossible (Genesis 18:14),
- works all things for your good (Romans 8:28),
- gives you strength to obey when you don’t understand (and even when you think you do) (Philippians 4:13),
- whose grace is sufficient for all your needs (2 Corinthians 12:9),
- who provides for all your needs (Philippians 4:19), and
- who will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)?
Take a lesson from the lepers:
Ask. Obey. Believe. Receive. And then rejoice.
How awesome, Father God, that there is more to thank You for than to ask You for! Amen.
Read and meditate on Luke 17:11–19
© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.