Where Are The Other Nine?
Luke 17:12-19 NKJV/NIV
12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
13 And they called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 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.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?
18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
God loves a thankful heart. He is looking for His people who return to Him to give thanks to Him.
Sometimes expectations in life can take our eyes off our blessing, and steal the joy that God has given us. We at times plead and plead with God for things, and forget to thank Him for what He has already done.
For believers of Christ, developing a spirit of thankfulness is more than just a nice idea. It is a direct command from God. In the Old Testament, God laid down specific guidelines for the Israelites to bring their thank offering. In the New Testament, believers are instructed to be thankful and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
The passage in Luke 17:12-19 tells us that one of the ten lepers who has been healed by Jesus returns to Him, glorifying Him, and bows down at His feet to give Him thanks. At this moment, Jesus’ heart goes out to those who have not come back to Him. He asks, “Where are the other nine?”
Jesus does not need our thanksgiving. Our giving thanks to Him does not make Him any more powerful or any larger than He already is. Giving thanks to God does not change God. It changes us.
A spirit of thankfulness honors God and strengthens our faith. Thanking God is to remember Who He is and what He has done for us. In remembering this, we discover more and more of the heart of God. In discovering God’s heart, we grow to be thankful not just for the good gifts but for the Good Giver, our Lord Jesus Christ. Our relationship with Him deepens and our faith in Him strengthens. We cannot mature in our relationship with God and grow in our knowledge of Him without a spirit of thankfulness.
The ten lepers call out in a loud voice to Jesus to have mercy on them. All obey Jesus’ instruction to go their way and show themselves to the priests. And all are healed as they are going. But only the one who returns to Jesus with thanksgiving receives the words from Jesus, “your faith has made you well”.
This suggests to me that in returning to the feet of Jesus to give thanks, that man is expressing his faith at a deeper level and that blesses the heart of Jesus. And for that, Jesus offers to him more than the other nine men. All have received physical healing, but this one man receives from Jesus wholeness and salvation that are more than skin deep. Thankfulness takes us from strength to strength, from one level of blessing to the next.
“Where are the other nine?”
More than three hundred days of this year have passed. Could it be that we are one of the nine Jesus is waiting for to return to Him, to remember His goodness and give thanks to Him? Could it be that cultivating a lifestyle of thankfulness is key to stepping into the greater blessing and joy God desires for us?
Join me in this prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me today that You are looking for Your children who will return to You to glorify You and give You thanks. Forgive me for those times when I cried out to You loudly for help but did not return to You to loudly give You thanks. Thank You for always forgiving me and lifting me up whenever I come to You in repentance. I commit, O Father, to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving and to live a lifestyle of thankfulness, always giving glory to Your Name. Thank You, Lord, that as I do so, You are going to reveal to me more and more of Your heart, and release to me a greater measure of Your blessing that I may continually serve You in love and in faith. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”