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He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:16

We all seek to be healed. In his book ‘Wild at Heart’ John Eldrege talks of ‘the Wound’ that each of us bears. The wound of our heart that comes from a variety of places and hurts in different ways. The question isn’t if we are wounded, because we all are. The question is how can we be healed?

The lepers in our story needed healing, that was obvious to anyone that dare venture near them. As the disease progressed fingers, toes and facial features were eaten away. The smell of rotting flesh was evident in the presence of leprosy.

The fact that one leper returned to thank Jesus isn’t particularly surprising. It’s the other nine neglecting to return that stands out.  There could be a plethora of reasons why the others didn’t return. Excitement of returning home; seeing the priests as the source of their healing and not Jesus; simple ingratitude; not being fully aware of the horrific condition they were in. We aren’t told the reason and you may have your own ideas.

The point remains, the lepers needed healing and only one realized the source of their healing and returned to give thanks.

There is another aspect to the story we must remember. Leprosy was not only a disease of the physical body, it was a symbol of sin in a persons life. That’s why the leper and his family were often under suspicion by the church. The leper had the distinct disadvantage of not being able to hide his sin. We, on the other hand can go to great lengths to hide the leprosy of our souls. We use relationships, addictive behavior, anger, religion and a variety of other activities to hide the disease within us. Some of those activities are noble social causes. Some are more personal in scope. None heal the pain that chews away at our hearts.

That’s why I’m thankful this season for Jesus. Like the returning leper, I’ve come to realize that he, and he alone is worth of my praise. I’m not healed yet. There are still vestiges of the disease lurking in the corners of my being. But because of him, the spiritual leprosy will not succeed.

Before the Samaritan leper took one more step towards the priests, home and a life of normalcy, he went back to Jesus to thank him for being healed. The rest of his life he would carry the scars of his leprosy, but along with it, the reminder that through Jesus ‘I AM CLEAN’!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for your death, burial and resurrection. Because of what you have done for me I have been cleansed from the leprosy that wanted to destroy me. In you I am clean and for that I’m eternally grateful. Amen.

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November 2012
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