“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'” (Luke 17:17-19)
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, where Jesus would die for the sins of all mankind. As they journeyed through Samaria they were accosted by a group of ten lepers. In those days people were scared to death of lepers. Leprosy in ancient times may have been nothing more than a rash, psoriasis, acne, skin blemishes or eczema, disorders are very treatable today but then no one really knew what it was or how to treat it or even if it was contagious. Lepers must have been incredibly depressed and lonely for they were despised as unclean and shunned by all, including their families. They were even condemned by God’s Law for they believed that He had afflicted them with leprosy as punishment for their sins.
One member of this group of lepers was doubly cursed for he was both a leper and a Samaritan, a race of people despised by all Jews as unclean. He was twice as far from the kingdom of God as the others. Perhaps for this reason he was the only one who was in the very position to know that this mercy granted to Him came from God Himself. He recognized that Jesus was the Messiah. His thankfulness was rewarded with the gift of salvation.
This miracle teaches us that everyone gets blessed by God; both good and bad, both saved and unsaved. The rain falls on and blesses both. God blesses all with food, housing, sunny weather or warm clothes in the cold, with beautiful trees and flowers, loving friends, strength and health. Yet the miracle also teaches us that thankfulness is an expression of our faith and trust in God as the source of not just all we have or own, or of good health and prosperity, but of Jesus as the one true source of salvation.