"The One or the Nine?"
"As He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole" (Luke 17:12-19).
Healing from leprosy occurred in the ten "as they went". Christ's declaration of wholeness graced the one after he gave thanks. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ healed the physical infirmities of multitudes during His earthly ministry. How many of those of those so blessed truly came to know Him? Scripture does not provide the answer, but the account of the lepers indicates that the percentage might be quite low. The consideration challenges us to join the one who "returned to give glory to God" in the knowledge that most people receive the Lord's good gifts with no acknowledgement to Him whatsoever. "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).
What caused the one leper to return? The answer to that question is far above the paygrade of human minds, particularly my own. I don't concern myself with such mystery, but rather seek to respond to the plainly understood issue that presents itself on the doorstep of my heart. In this day, will I gratefully join the one in his return to the feet of the Lord Jesus, falling before Him in amazed gratitude? Or will I blindly and blithely receive God's good gifts and then go on my way with the nine, giving little or no thought to the Lord's abundant graciousness? While I be merely healed, as it were? Or will I be made whole by giving thanks?
The heart always constitutes the main issue our our lives. "The Lord looketh on the heart… Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (I Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 4:23) . The body matters, and God concerns Himself with every aspect of our being. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23). However, great and good things can happen in soul and body without the spirit being touched. This was the case with 90% of the lepers. Only one returned to glorify God, to fall on his face, and to give the Lord Jesus thanks. I know you join me in wanting to join the one. And I know you join me in realizing that it is far too easy to join the nine. Wholeness depends on our response, the fulfillment of heart found only in God's gracious blessing, and in our grateful acknowledgement thereof.
"Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be Thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto Thee forever."
Weekly Memory Verse
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.