Luke 17:11–19 (NRSV): 11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
Two things stand out to me in this passage. First, the one who returns to Jesus to offer thanks is a Samaritan. Samaritans were distant relations with the Jews, but we’re considered foreigners by the time of Jesus. As has occurred many times in Luke, it is the outsider or foreigner who responds in faith to Jesus.
The second thing that comes to mind is the lack of gratitude on the part of the nine who did not return to Jesus. It’s like they took their healing for granted in a way the Samaritan did not. Perhaps because they were Jews they felt entitled, but we really don’t know.
The truth is the Lord lavishes his blessings on me all the time and I’m afraid I’ve gotten used to it at some level. I wonder if I would be one who returned like the Samaritan or not. As it is, I’m afraid my level of gratitude comes nowhere close to the level of blessing I enjoy. That is challenging me this morning.
Lord I know I do not thank you enough. How could I? That said I want to do better in this area of my faith life. Give me grace to appreciate all the ways you care for me and those I love. Grow in me a heart of deep gratitude for all the ways you give me life. Amen.