Summary: The one who shows gratitude to God is the one who benefits the most.


Luke 17:11-19

This Thursday is Thanksgiving, a national holiday set aside for the specific purpose of giving thanks to God for all that He has done for us as individuals and as a nation. Most Americans will spend it gathered around a table in a loved one’s or good friend’s home enjoying vast amounts of food. The afternoon will be spent either in front of the television, playing with little ones, or planning Christmas shopping routes in order to get the best deals the following day.

Some people will spend time volunteering in bread lines or at homeless shelters or even out on the streets serving warm meals to those who have no home or family to spend this Thanksgiving holiday with. Others will be on the front lines of our nation’s conflicts, protecting our country’s interests and safety far from home and loved ones. Many will stop for a moment and take some time to remember what they are thankful for, but few will remember Who it is they should be thanking.

I’m all for Thanksgiving, for showing appreciation, counting my blessings. But if you want my opinion, I believe Thanksgiving is a holy day that should be spent in church focusing on the source of our gratitude instead of lounging around in ignorant ungrateful bliss, or planning how to spend God-given resources filling up our God-given homes with more stuff which we won’t remember to thank God for providing us with, and instead will find its way into a dumpster before next Thanksgiving.

We are a nation of plenty that has become careless, prideful, and willfully ignorant of the source of our plenty. We possess critical and complaining spirits. Griping about every inconvenience or hardship that comes are way. We are more than ready to blame God for allowing trials in our lives, but very few are willing to stop and praise Him for all the good things, which far outweigh the bad.

Our Scripture lesson this morning talks about ten men who had the opportunity and privilege to praise and thank Christ face-to-face and yet only one man took advantage of that chance. And ultimately only one out of ten found complete and total healing. Read with me our Scripture passage for today, Luke 17:11-19:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. [12] As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance [13] and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” [14] When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. [15] One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. [16] He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. [17] Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? [18] Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ [19] Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’”

I. The Story

Let’s break our passage down and see what treasure God has for us in His Word. Verse 11 says, “Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.”

This was to be Jesus’ last trip from the Galilee area where He grew up to Jerusalem where He was going to be executed. He was leaving His hometown for the last time and would not return before His death.

Now this was a three-day journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. And to get to the capital city the Jews had to pass through Samaria. The Samaritans, however, were not friendly to such travelers. They were in fact often hostile and refused to give them overnight shelter. Because of this, Jews would often cross over to the east side of the Jordan River to avoid traveling through Samaria, but Jesus did not.

Though the Bible does not give us a clear reason as to why Jesus travelled through Samaria, I believe the reason has to do with His message that He had come to save all mankind, not just the Jews. And while traveling along this three-day journey Christ is teaching the entire time. In fact, one of the parables he teaches is the one on the Good Samaritan.

Then verses 12 and 13 tell us, “As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance [13] and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

So as Jesus and his disciples are travelling along they get to the outskirts of a village. We don’t know what village, or exactly where it was, but it was somewhere along the path to Jerusalem. And as they approach ten men with leprosy see them coming.

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