Giving Thanks

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus
the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in
Him and established in the faith, as you have been
taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."

Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV

For a moment, please allow me to draw your attention to a remarkable Biblical story of gratitude toward Jesus, as expressed in Luke 17:11-19. We call this story, "Jesus and the Ten Lepers."

"Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!'

"So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

"So Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?' And He said to him, 'Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.'"

There are some compelling features embodied in this story, not the least of which are the references to Samaria and to the Samaritan who benefitted from, and most gratefully acknowledged, the healing of leprosy for him and his fellow ailing bystanders. There is a powerful reminder in this depiction, that our access to God is only through Jesus. But it is not subject to one's cast, status, wealth or other factors. In somewhat of a sad irony, it is a "Samaritan" who alone expresses sheer gratitude to our Lord for his newfound well-being.

It is also interesting to note, as Luke records in verse 12, that "there He met Him ten men who were lepers." While it may be said that I am taking license, I find it engaging that Jesus actually "met" these men, perhaps connecting with their hearts in sensing their need and vulnerability. Luke could have expressed that Jesus "came upon" such men, but he chose the word "met." I believe that to Jesus, they were more than just bystanders in need.

Between the lines, there are plenty of reasons to deduce that Jesus' healing of the lepers was intended to instruct us all in such a way that we, too, would recognize and acknowledge the healing and cleansing of our own leprosy (symbolically) through Christ's salvation. Now may we all be similarly motivated to give thanks for His salvaging of our very lives, not unlike the Samaritan within our story who, in verses 15 and 16, gave thanks with a loud voice, glorifying God while falling to the ground.

We, at VOMC, also hear both the cries of pain and acclamations of gratitude almost every day, and we are blessed by the faithfulness of those whom are faithfully expressing their grateful hearts despite the peril in which their gratitude abounds.

In Christ,

Doug J. McKenzie
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada