The story of the 10 lepers. You've probably heard it. Jesus healed ten men of that disgusting, socially suffocating disease called leprosy. One returned to say thank you.
But before we knock the other nine too quickly, put yourselves in their sandals for a minute. Their lives had just changed pretty quickly, and pretty drastically. They had things to do. They wanted to get to the priest as soon as possible to get the purification process going. They could finally be with their family and friends again. They could hold their children again. It's easy to understand why taking a break to say thank you wasn't on their list of things to do. They wanted to get busy enjoying life again, forgetting who gave it to them.
What a danger. God does bless us. But Satan wants us to get caught up in those blessings and forget the blesser. That one Samaritan leper didn't fall into that trap. Instead he lived his faith. And he gave us a great lesson in putting the giver ahead of the gifts and living in thanks. Without thanks, sooner or later those blessings get old and cumbersome. With thanks, we see our God's love for us in everything, every day.
Thanking God keeps us focused on him and what he does for us, keeps us realizing that only by his gifts do we survive and thrive. Here at Jesus' feet, thanking him, we see him continue to pour out blessings after blessings. And as he does, he strengthens our faith in him as the one who provides all our physical needs, but even more, as the one who has provided all our spiritual gifts.
You see, Jesus did more than heal the incurable disease of leprosy. He found the cure for sin. The Bible said that without the shedding of blood there is no forgive
ness. The Bible says that sin brings death. So Jesus shed his blood. He died. He cured us of our sins. And as the crumbling skin of the lepers miraculously became whole again, we are made whole, with all the perfection that is God's. Jesus rose. He has healed us.
And as we come to thank him for all of this, he keeps pouring out his gifts - giving us peace and hope for life through his word, giving us the seal of our salvation in baptism, feeding us forgiveness and the foretaste of heaven in the Lord's Supper. And he piles all of these things on us, even though we only came back to say thanks.
So take to heart the last words of our text as we go out from here today: Let your faith respond with obedience and thanks, and then, hear your Savior say, "Rise and go. Your faith has made you well."