As Jesus passed through a certain village, ten lepers waited to meet Him. They had heard He might come that way and hoped that He might heal them. Because they were lepers, they were not allowed to stand near the road. From a distance they called out.
“Jesus! Teacher! Have mercy on us!”They wore hoods over their heads and scarves across their faces. This was so no one would have to look at the awful sores which made them lepers. They begged Jesus to heal them.
Jesus pointed hack to the town.
“Go and show yourselves to the priests.” This was another way of telling the lepers they were healed! Only people who had been healed were supposed to go to the priests.
The men did as Jesus told them. As they walked toward the temple to see the priests, they felt a strange thing happening. Blood tingled through their arms and legs and strange warmth went up and down their backs. One man pulled his sleeve up and saw the skin growing back healthy.
He shouted. “Praise God! Praise the Lord God Almighty! I’ve been healed! I’m all better!”
Then he turned around. As fast as he could, he ran straight back to where Jesus was preaching. He fell at Jesus’ feet and grabbed hold of them.
“Thank You, oh thank You!” He said.
Jesus looked at the man who was singing out his thanks to God.
He said. “But weren’t there ten who were healed, where are the other nine?”Then Jesus told him. “You can go now, your faith has saved you and made you better.”
Why did only one man return? It could be that the other nine did not come back and say thank you for the same reasons people do not thank God today.
Perhaps one leper simply forgot to say thank you and another may have been too shy. Maybe one was too proud. Perhaps another leper was excited about being healed or lost his way and could not find Jesus again. It could be one was too busy, there was lot of living to catch up on.
One leper may not have come back to say thank you because the priest told him he did not have to. This man always did what others told him, without thinking for himself. The seventh leper may not have said thank you because he did not understand what had happened to him. The eighth leper may not have gone back to see Jesus because he simply saw no reason to do so. He had never said thank you to anyone for anything.
Perhaps the last leper wandered away so happy, he hardly noticed where he was going. Only one leper of the ten saw how Jesus heals the whole person. As happens so often, the others took the gift God gave them for granted. God often gives us what we need. How often do we thank Him?