Each November, as Thanksgiving approaches, the world cues us to be more thankful and churches often remind us of the story of the 10 Lepers.
It’s a story found in Luke 17 about 10 men who had leprosy.
If you are unfamiliar with leprosy, I caution you about googling it. The pictures can be gruesome. Leprosy was a highly contagious, highly debilitating, painful, lonely disease. Lepers were completely excluded from society.
As the disease progressed, their skin would actually rot off and pieces of their noses and ears would just rot away and disappear. Many times, the nerve damage from leprosy was so bad that they would lose feeling in their extremities and their rotting flesh would attract animals that would come and gnaw and eat at their flesh and their hands and feet at night. A leper could wake up with a missing finger or toe and not even realize it. And in those days, there was no hope for a cure.
So you can imagine how desperate these men were to be healed. They waited for Jesus to come into their village and they stood at a distance and called out,
“Jesus, Master, have pity on us! When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:13-19 (NIV)
All ten of these men were healed but only one came back praising the Lord. In a loud voice. I believe it specifies “loud” on purpose. This guy didn’t hide his enthusiasm. He was excited! He didn’t just run back and shake Jesus’s hand and say a polite, “Thank you”. He fell at His feet. And thanked Him. LOUDLY. He couldn’t contain himself. I think he realized, not simply that he had been healed, but that he had been in the presence of the Healer.
This Samaritan, who wasn’t even allowed to go into the temple was healed by Jesus. Demonstrating that no one is beyond God’s mercy and grace. Salvation is available to all. Not just the Jews. All who call out to Him.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
This Samaritan had been healed and was lying prostrate at the feet of Jesus, overwhelmed with emotion and thanksgiving.
But he was the only one.
The attitude of the other 9 reflected the attitude of the Jews towards Jesus during this time. Give us healing. Give us food. Cast out our demons. But don’t expect our worship! Don’t expect us to acknowledge You as God!
The reality is, if we’re not careful, we can be like those Jews. We expect God to answer our prayers and bless us and take care of us. But don’t expect us to worship Him out loud, or take time to actually go to church on Sundays or read His word or talk to Him in prayer. Don’t expect us to live lives that reflect Him to others, or talk about Him to other people. Don’t expect us to do that!
Ouch. If you’re anything like me, those words stung a bit. I just stepped on my own toes!
I don’t want to have that attitude. And if you’ve read this far, then I can surmise that you don’t either. So I challenge you to ask yourself this question: Am I living a quiet faith? Or a loud one?
Perhaps it’s time to turn up the volume.