Recently I was watching a rerun of Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”, which was hosted by the late Anthony Bourdain while he was on a visit to Colombia. Having recently been to Colombia on a mission trip, the show piqued my interest. To some degree Colombia still has a lingering bad rap from the drug cartels and para-military groups of the 1980s. Throughout the episode, the Colombians were expressing how thankful they were that things there had changed. Specifically, of course, they were referencing at how much better things were now as compared to when the drug cartels operated without restraint. The show ended with a roof top party and Bourdain made a comment I felt was a very insightful when he said, “People who’ve been through really hard times really know how to throw a good party.”
Luke 17 records the account of ten lepers who met Jesus and had a life-changing encounter with God in the flesh—Jesus. Prior to Jesus, they were alienated in every way. They couldn't participate in any of the Jewish festivals, attend synagogue (e.g. church), and were expected to announce their presence by saying “unclean” while always maintaining a distance of 100 paces from the clean. In some ways, it reminds me of the stigma that AIDS had in the 1980s. Leprosy carried a bit of a spiritual and moral stigma with it. In short, they were outcasts…until Jesus. Jesus completely healed them.
Surprisingly, only one of the ten healed lepers returned to thank Jesus. —Have you ever wondered what happened? Me too.— Luke doesn't reveal their reasons and so we can only speculate, but let’s speculate.
One wanted to wait and see if the cure was real and not a fluke.
One presumed he’d bump into Jesus at a later time and would thank Him then.
Another decided he’d never really had leprosy in the first place.
One thought that he’d have gotten better eventually anyway through a new holistic process or diet he was on.
Another thought, “I have so much to do and get caught up on. Jesus will understand.”
One said, “Actually, I didn't really have it as bad as the others.”
Another thought, “I should’ve never even had leprosy in the first place.”
Interestingly, Jesus takes notice of their absence and ingratitude. He noticed that only one out of ten returned to express gratitude. However, there was one who took the time out of his new life to express his gratitude. He recognized that He’d been blessed, healed by God. He realized something miraculous had happened. He was sensitive and appreciative of God’s goodness. He got it and he glorified God as a result.
May we maintain a grateful attitude like the “one”. I want to encourage you to see all that God has done in your life. Do you remember a time when you cried out to God to deliver you? Do you remember a time when the bottom of your life dropped out, but God was there to catch you? He has saved you and is preparing a place for you. Because of Jesus, you’ve come so very far. Because of Jesus, may we remember and see differently. May we remember how things were before we met Jesus and because of His great love and grace, may we know how to throw a good party. That is, may you strive to live a life of gratitude by remembering where you’ve come from, how far God has brought you, and where He’s taking you. That’s worth celebrating!
Hope to see you this Sunday at 9:30am at North Chapel’s church service.
To read past blog postings by Dr. Bobby Brewer (Lead Pastor of North Chapel Bible Church), Select Here