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REFLECTIVE BIBLE STUDY


Flashback Episode — Praising God through Jesus: Luke 17:11-19

Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on ReflectiveBibleStudy.com...Flashback Episode: Year of Miracles – Episode 40: When Jesus sent ten lepers on a mission, only one returned to give thanks. Discover some things we can learn from this amazing miracle, and what the one man risked when he returned to thank Jesus. Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here. Read the transcript: As we move through the miracles in the gospels, we come to the point in Jesus’ miracles where He makes His way towards Jerusalem leading up to the crucifixion. Early on in this trip, we come to an event that is interesting, because in it, those present are healed without Jesus’ presence and after they begin following Jesus’ instructions. However, one of those present in the group risks everything because he chooses to deviate from Jesus’ instructions in order to do something he feels is more important than finishing the task Jesus had sent him on. Let’s read about what happened, and discover some things we can apply in our own life from what took place. Our passage is found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 17, and we will be reading it from the New American Standard Bible. Starting in verse 11, Luke tells us that: 11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18 Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” I am always a little surprised in this event. The implication in what is written is that the other nine former lepers were not thankful, but that is unlikely the case. I’m sure that all ten men were overjoyed at the realization that they were healed. While Luke’s gospel condenses this event to help us see the overall picture, I am a little curious how much time passed between the men being sent by Jesus to Jerusalem, and when the one man ultimately arrived back to thank Jesus. This could have been hours later, or even days. When I look at a map of New Testament Israel, it is likely that these lepers had to travel about 50 miles on foot from where Jesus met them to ultimately reach Jerusalem. This would have then been at least a two-day journey. I suspect that this Samaritan arrived back to thank Jesus maybe a few hours later. Because while the group hurried towards Jerusalem, I’m pretty sure the Samaritan ran back to find Jesus. We don’t know if the other lepers ever made it back to thank Jesus. It is possible that they did. It is also possible that they didn’t turn back because they were fearful that any deviation from Jesus’ command to go to show themselves to the priests in Jerusalem would result in the leprosy returning. This Samaritan risked losing his healing in order to thank Jesus. Another unknown in this event is if the Samaritan then went to finish the mission of seeing a priest. We don’t have any indication of this in the scriptures, but part of me thinks that he did because that would be a smart, safe thing to do, not just because Jesus had told him to do so, but also because the priests were the official gatekeepers who declared the diseased people healed and able to return to society. In this event, we discover that there is never a bad time to pause and give thanks to God for what He has done for us. While driving might come close to a bad time if it causes us to pay less attention to the road, nothing in giving thanks to God says it has to involve closed eyes or even take more than a few words. This event, and specifically Jesus’ response, highlights the importance of giving thanks for what God has done for us. However, it is also interesting that when we read this event, the Samaritan returns to Jesus, “glorifying God with a loud voice”. In Jesus’ reply, we see where Jesus focused as well, because Jesus asked the question “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” This distinction is significant in my mind. While the former leper thanks Jesus personally, he is much more interested in giving God the glory and credit for the miracle. While Jesus attributes the healing to the man’s faith, from the man’s praise, we see that his faith was in God and in God blessing Jesus’ ministry. The other nine former lepers may have ultimately been thankful, but they might have simply attributed their thanks to Jesus and not to God. I wonder how many in the first century, like those living today, believe God the Father is unhappy with them, but that Jesus came to stand between us and an angry God. While there is scattered evidence throughout the Bible that a belief could be created from, this belief runs counter to the broader truth that Jesus’ love for us is the same as the Father’s love for us. In this event, Jesus didn’t come seeking praise for Himself. Instead, Jesus came to give people the opportunity to give glory to God the Father, and to show the world what the Father is really like. If you or I are ever doubtful of what the Father is like, we don’t need to look any further than Jesus and what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross! As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with: Always seek God first and give Him thanks when He brings blessings into your life. If there is a coincidence, a bit of luck, or something that simply went your way when it didn’t have to, give God thanks regardless of whether He was involved or not. When in doubt, it is always better to thank God because we don’t always know what He is up to in our lives. Also, as I always challenge you to do, keep praying and studying the Bible for yourself to discover what God wants to teach you through the pages of His Word. While you can learn many things from many people, filter everything you see, hear, or read through the filter of the Bible to discover whether it is truth or not. If an idea conflicts with the Bible’s teaching, it is not a worthwhile idea from eternity’s perspective. And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

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