Imagine getting a disease that immediately characterizes you as an outcast. From that point on, you have to live in isolation and are declared unclean. Well, that is exactly what it was like for those afflicted with leprosy. Take a look at Leviticus 13 & 14 to see the seriousness of this skin disease and how a person with it was treated. In Luke 17, there were ten lepers who came to Jesus for healing (v. 11-14). They cried out in desperation, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (v. 14). Moved with compassion, Jesus granted them all undeserved mercy and as they obeyed His words, they were cleansed. They all must have felt relieved and eager to get back to normal life; especially physical contact with the ones they missed and loved.
Can’t you see them leaping and running....bursting into their homes, embracing their wives, giving their children piggy back rides, and slapping high-fives with their friends! However, as this true story climaxes, there was one leper who instead of making a beeline home, “turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks” (v. 15-16). That day, ten lepers were healed, but only one was saved. All ten of them were physically cleansed of their skin disease, but only one was spiritually cleansed of his sin disease – “your faith has made you well” (v. 19).
This Christ-encounter highlights the tragic reality, that many people want things from Jesus, but few want Jesus, himself. A truly thankful heart looks through the gift to the Giver, and by God’s eye-opening grace, the one, thankful leper saw through his healing to his Healer. He saw in Jesus, the only One who could heal him of his sins and make him truly clean. This year the Lord has been filling our hearts with gratitude, because of the spiritual cleansing that Jesus provides us everyday through the blood of His cross!
The temporal gifts of God, like healing and other physical blessings, are wonderful and God deserves our thanks for these gifts! However, the eternal gift of salvation in Christ Jesus is needed infinitely more than temporal gifts – we are all born sinners and we need to be saved by this gracious Christ. Receive Him today! Thank Him today! As we look back on the Lord’s faithfulness to us in 2010 and look forward to the promised grace to come in 2011, join us in loud praises to our God, at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks!
Have a Blessed New Year!
~The Turner Family