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2020 Thanksgiving Challenge Gratitude
When people really appreciate an act or service that I provide, intense euphoric emotions flood my mind urging me to repeat some act that might cause another episode of euphoria. Not that the first episode was to gain said feelings, but it does not hurt if the feelings happen again, and again, and again...
We, mortal humans, are just like the God who made us. We love it when people are thankful. God loves a thankful heart. Being that we are created in His image it is fitting that we have inherited that aspect from Him.
Paul told the members of the Church in Greece, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." [Thessalonians 5:18]
It is God's will through Jesus Christ that those who follow Him give thanks in ALL things. All things include both the good and the bad! The truth of the matter is: God loves and expects His saints to be a grateful people. So do His imperfect and flawed children on the earth. We, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, probably feel as reverently as God does on the issue with much less of an eternal perspective on the matter. Jesus demonstrated in His mortal ministry that He loves to receive gratitude from those He helps.
Paul told the members of the Church in Greece, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Stood afar off from Him in the vicinity of Samaria and Galilee a group of men smitten with the blight of leprosy. There is no name for the diseases these men had. It could have been any number of medical conditions that the physicians in meridian time could not identify or treat, so they called it all leprosy.
"Jesus," they called, hope fettered with the constraints of society and disease. "Heal us, please." Ten men stood at a distance in the village that Jesus and his disciples visited. The rules and customs of the time prohibited these poor blokes from contacting the clean, as the non-lepers were called in case the blight spread to others and brought ruin to the population. Society during the time of Jesus Christ was filled with contagonists. Social distancing meant banishment to a leper colony.
Some, sent away by the casting of stones or even the threat of death to prevent the mass hysteria of the populous from blossoming into pandemonium, left voluntarily for the greater good of the communities in which they lived.
These ten, men of different cultural heritage, all became equal crying before the famed Lord of Healing who stood afar off as they pled on His mercy to make them clean and whole again as had been noised about all of Judea.
Was it true? Was it a rumor? These nine Jews and one Samaritan could care less. Society cursed a wedge to grow between these cousins over years and bigotry, but the group, leprosy, made sure both Jew and Samaritan understood those designations lacked specialty when suffering came.
"Jesus, Master, have mercy on us," [Luke 17:13] pled they all standing the required distance. Jesus, away as was the custom, not rocking the social boat in this instance, looked on with compassion. There was no pride in their eyes. There was only an inspiration to enter into the world of sociality once more. Wanting the human touch of brotherhood, welcome, and love. The isolation of the outer edges of the city slew their spirits though they had each other as company. Hope in the power of this Jesus Christ to take away their reproach and heal their suffering dominated all that existed within them. Was their faith in that hope in the Christ enough? Yes.
"Jesus," they called, hope fettered with the constraints of society and disease. "Heal us, please."
The heart of Jesus filled with compassion towards them as he spoke the delightful words to them, "Go shew yourselves unto the priests." [Luke 17:14]. Though He exchanged words with the priest on many occasions instructing them in their own faith, His reason for having these men of Judah show themselves to the priest because the priests are they who verify that a leper was clean of the blight.
What faith is that! These men had such faith that they immediately ran to their priest as commanded by this Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth! Jesus had yet to fulfill the Law of Moses, a directive from God. Jehovah commanded in the book of Leviticus,
If the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and SHALL BE SHEWED UNTO THE PRIEST.[13:49]
The blessing came as they were quick to respond to the Savior's command. He did not have to put hands on them or even be near them for their faith in His power to heal them did heal them. Luke records that "as they went, they were cleansed." [Luke 17:14]
According to their faith, the lepers received clean skin again as they went to inspection for a declaration to their communities that they are free to return to society. There is the assumption that those men received a rating by the priests and entrance into society again, however, there is only tale of one.
These men had such faith that they immediately ran to their priest as commanded by this Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth!
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God." [Luke 17:15]
The hated Samaritan saw that as they ran toward the priests that his skin was healed. In the act of doing what Jesus said, he stopped and returned to where Jesus stood. On his journey back, this outsider and enemy of the Jews at the time glorified God. Noticing his healing, he gave the glory and acknowledgment to God It was a miracle. Why is this important for Luke to write in the scriptures that a Samaritan glorified God? He, a stranger, a man not considered by the Jews of that era worthy to have place among the House of Israel because of their mixed ancestry and bastardized version of Hebrewism remembered to honor God.
Jesus gave the word that God honored on His behalf to heal them of leprosy. In other words, if ten people, nine Christians, and one Islamasist were all cured of COVID-19 at the request of a preacher, the Islamasist would give glory to God and return to the preacher while doing so. To do what?
Not only did the Samaritan glorify God, but he also had the humility to acknowledge that Jesus was the vehicle through which God healed him, showing gratitude. He gave thanks to Jesus for acting on his behalf while giving glory to God.
Noticing that only one of the men, the socially unacceptable, came to Him, Jesus said to his disciples to teach them a cultural lesson about their societal prejudices using the man who He had blessed as a witness, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger." [Luke 17:17-18]
Those other men felt so triumphant about returning to society that they neglected to give thanks and they were of the socially acceptable class, the deserving class. The stranger, the Samaritan returned glorifying God and giving thanks to Jesus.
Jubilantly, let us all give thanks for the blessing that we have like the stranger did at the feet of Jesus this time of year. 2020 is a year of trials, but there have been some learning through our trials about ourselves that we otherwise would not know. I am sure there are areas of improvement we can work toward and areas where we never knew we excelled. Happy Thanksgiving.
© 2020 Rodric Anthony Johnson