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Were Not Ten Cleansed?

Luke 17:17 (ESV) -- Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”

Would people who know you say you are a grateful person? Is your life marked by gratitude and thankfulness to God? Are you quick to recognize how much you’ve been given, or are you prone to pessimism and seeing the worst in every situation? Your answers to these questions will be key indicators in predicting your level of happiness in life. 


Our text today captures an incredible exchange between Jesus and a healed leper. We learn from it something about how human hearts work and our blindness to God’s mercies in our lives. There are ten lepers that Jesus cleanses and heals. This act of healing is so merciful and life-giving. These individuals would have been shunned as outsiders in the community because of their leprosy. Jesus’ healing was a new lease on life. They could worship again in the synagogue and go to the Temple. Everything about their lives would have been changed as a result of this act. 


After Jesus heals them, He instructs them to go and present themselves to the priest. This would have given them a clean bill of health and reentrance into the society. They leave Jesus to do this. You can imagine they are celebrating and rejoicing the entire way. You can imagine they are planning all the things they are going to do and all the people they are going to see after they get clearance. But afterwards we read that only one of the ten came back to thank Jesus. Our passage today is Jesus’ response to him, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” Only one of the ten returned. Ten cleansed, and only one came back in gratitude. 


Before we judge them too harshly, think about how much the Lord has done for us and still does for us each day. How often are you giving Him thanks for it? How often do you pause to praise Him for His goodness and kindness to you? You see, gratitude is the fruit of a heart that recognizes how benevolent God has been. 


Is this you? It should be all of us. Thank the Lord today for all of His goodness to you. Try to list ten things and praise Him for each one. This kind of habit will increase your happiness and glorify the God who is good to us.

Reflection & Journal:

- Why do you think only one of the ten returned to give thanks?

- What do you think keeps you from living more gratefully?

- How can we grow in our appreciation and understanding of God’s benevolence in our lives?