Those ingrates! Isn’t that how we’re supposed to feel about the nine lepers who didn’t say thank you? Isn’t that why Jesus asked this loaded question? “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” (Luke 17:17,18 MSG). Or is Jesus doing what he always does—sending the rest of us a message through a not-so-isolated incident?
Before the healing miracle, Jesus was discussing faith with his inner circle. They wanted the right thing, didn’t they? “Give us more faith” (Luke 17:5 MSG). But Jesus didn’t just hear the question. He saw what was behind it. He knew those guys too well. He knew they wanted to be among the select few in the big faith group. So, he said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith” (verse 6). Any amount can move a mountain.
And then these lepers showed up. Jesus healed them. Not because he wanted a thank-you but because they needed to be healed and they all called out for God’s mercy. I’m sure they were all grateful not to be lepers anymore. But it was a recognized outsider who came back. It was the man least appreciated by everyone watching who didn’t just say thank you. He adored Jesus. “He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough” (verse 16).
We all suffer from nine leper syndrome. There aren’t enough ways to thank Jesus for what he has done for us.