Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?
The Silent Majority
When Jesus cleansed the ten lepers, only one came back to thank Him. Have you ever wondered why they would not come back to Jesus and personally thank Him or at least have a record of praising God or giving glory to God? I have. I cannot understand why none of them came back to thank Jesus, but the interesting thing is that only the foreigner came back to thank God. Most of the Jews, particularly the religious or self-righteous ones, despised Gentiles, and most of the Jews believed God wasn’t with anyone but them. It’s quite interesting that the Gentile was the only one who came back to give glory to God and thanks for being healed.
Leprosy, Symbolic of Sin
Leprosy is very similar to sin. Leprosy spreads and desensitizes the body as nerve endings deteriorate and pain is increasingly not felt. Sin spreads throughout the body and desensitizes the sinner, and increasingly they feel no conviction over sin. Both numb the body, making it unfeeling to the surrounding elements. Those who had leprosy had to be put out of the camp, and someday those who refuse to repent of their sins and trust in Christ will be put out of the kingdom permanently because of their sin (Rev 20:12-15). Those who have leprosy and are unrepentant sinners grow worse and worse over time, and both are deemed unclean.
The Sin of Ingratitude
Most people take God for granted. I know that I have, but so did these nine lepers who never came back. They knew they were healed and didn’t trouble themselves enough to go back and thank Jesus. Only the one who was a foreigner came back, and he was deemed, ironically, unclean by the Jews, who had no love for the Gentiles. Jesus pointed out and asked the rhetorical question, “Where are the other nine?” Only one came back! The one who did come back was cleansed and made well, perhaps of his sin, due to his faith in Christ (Luke 17:9), but who knows what became of the other nine. Perhaps something worse fell upon them. They were apparently not proclaimed to be made well, as was the one who came back to Jesus to thank Him. Where am I in my ingratitude? Am I with the nine, or did I come back to the throne of grace frequently to thank God?
A Closing Prayer
Great and gracious Father God, You are always better to me than I deserve. Please forgive me for my many times of ingratitude where I fail to thank You when you most certainly deserve it and for the ultimate cleansing coming at the price of Jesus’ own shed blood, and it is in His holy name I pray.
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