Monday, November 19, 2018

Giving Thanks to God

Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18).

On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border of Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into one of the villages, a group of ten lepers called out to him. Under the laws of Leviticus 13–14, people afflicted with leprosy were not permitted inside walled cities or fenced villages. Moreover, those touched by them became ceremonially unclean. Thus, the lepers stayed away from other people.

However, this particular group of lepers had heard about Jesus’ healing power and called out, “Master, have pity on us!” (Luke 17:13). Jesus called back, “Go, show yourselves to the priests” (v. 14). According to the laws of Leviticus, it was the job of the priests to determine if a person had a case of leprosy. They obeyed Jesus on faith, and as they went, they were cleansed.

One of the men, a Samaritan, came back and threw himself at Jesus’ feet, praising God and thanking Jesus. It is interesting to note that, although Jews normally had nothing to do with Samaritans, in this community of misery, all such artificial social barriers had disappeared. At any rate, it was not one of the Jewish lepers but a Samaritan who returned to thank Jesus.

We often read this passage to mean that only one of the ten was grateful, but this is a mistake. First, all of these men had the faith to obey Jesus. Second, leprosy was such a distressing disease that any man cured of it was grateful. It is likely that the other nine men were so excited at the possibility of returning to their homes that they failed to take the time to express their thanks.

Taking time to give thanks—that is the point of the story. We may be thankful for God’s blessings, but how often do we take the time to express our thanks to God? On this occasion, only one in ten did so.

The ancient word for the Lord’s Day worship service is Holy Eucharist, which means “Holy Thanksgiving.” The purpose of worship was seen as a time of corporate praise and thanksgiving to God. Reflect on your time of worship yesterday. Did you take time to thank God? On a piece of paper, list specific things God has done for you recently, and express your thanks to Him for each one.