Tomorrow, we return …
Of all the maladies that could be suffered by a human being, being diagnosed with leprosy long ago before it could be treated was one of the worst experiences you could ever face.
No one could help a leper. Physically, they would painfully waste away and die.
And no one wanted them.
No one wanted to even be near them for fear they would become infected themselves. They were cast out from the community, sent away from their families, their friends, their social circles. Society was done with them. They would spend the rest of their lives rejected and ejected.
As far as the world was concerned, they no longer had any value as persons.
That is, except with Jesus …
“As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ He looked at them and said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?'” Luke 17:11-18.
There were 10 men healed that day.
Nine men simply went their way. In spite of the fact that their deteriorating bodies had just been delivered from a viciously painful death, and regardless of the fact that they were given acceptance and value by the world by now being free from leprosy, they just went their way as if this was a nominal, everyday occurrence.
But one man, when he realized he had been healed, understood the depth of what Jesus had done for him. How do you respond to something so transforming and freeing? He shouted praise to God, and he returned to Jesus to thank him. So moved with gratitude was this man that he made his way back to Jesus and fell at his feet.
Because he was overwhelmed with the salvation from a hideous death, this Samaritan returned to Jesus to express how thankful he was.
How can we do any less?
We suffer from something that is much worse than leprosy, we suffer from sin. It’s a death sentence, not just for the body, but spiritually it kills us and separates us from God. It renders us utterly worthless.
Except to Jesus.
He has healed us from our sins by taking our plague of sins upon Himself and suffering their consequences for us. Having overcome sin and death, He offers us the salvation He has achieved for us.
How do we respond?
Many will go on as if this was just a nominal, everyday occurrence.
But for the rest? They’ll take a day like Thanksgiving and shout praise to God, and they’ll return. They will make the day a time of returning to tell Jesus just how thankful they are for setting them free and saving their souls.
Tomorrow, we return …