Grateful Faith

Luke 17:11-19

As God, the Lord Jesus was kind to the ungrateful:

"But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Luke 6:35).

As the children of the Highest, we are to be kind to the unthankful as well.

In today's account, notice the three ways Jesus answered the "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us" of the leprous ones.

First, though, a few verse-by-verse comments on portions of the Scripture text for the lesson...

13 -- Their need and faith were evident; so was His compassion.

14 -- Jesus' answer wasn't His version of, "Hey. Don't talk to me about your woes. Go talk to the priests." What He told them to do was in compliance with the Law for any leper who thought he was well (Leviticus 14). Thus, doing what Jesus said was a further demonstration of their faith. And as they obeyed, they received the mercy they requested: complete cleansing of the filth caused by their leprosy.

15 -- This man could see he had been cleansed of all the sores and decay which had become the "old normal" of his leprous life. He also knew he had received an additional mercy: actual healing of the leprosy. For that he glorified God, loudly. So Jesus did the healing, but God got the glory. That's how Jesus wanted it. May we want it that way also. Whatever good we do, may we desire God's glory, not our own. (Of course, being God, Jesus also received the man's glory.)

16 -- In addition to offering loud glory to God, the healed stranger offered Jesus visible worship and audible thanksgiving.

17 -- Jesus didn't respond to the missing nine with "Those ingrates can just be leprous again." Of course not! Remember: "He is kind unto the unthankful" (Luke 6:35). Additionally, their ungratefulness was no surprise to Jesus; He knew their responses before He healed them. And despite that, He healed them anyway. It's how God is -- kind to the unthankful.

18 -- Jesus' foreknowledge of their ungratefulness didn't diminish His expectations. Though He knew they wouldn't be thankful, He still required thankfulness. He still does. For all the mercy He has shown you and the good He has done you, don't be one of the nine!

19 -- In this verse we find the Great Physician's third demonstration of mercy: restoration. The lepers would have been thrilled beyond words with just the first two. To be cleansed and healed of leprosy was mercy enough. Sure, they would still show the evidence of having been lepers: pieces missing from their fingers and toes, an ear lobe gone, a nose eaten away. They could deal with that, knowing that they had been healed. But Jesus' third mercy... Wow! They were whole again! (Tip for an additional perspective: look up the meaning of the Greek word translated made whole.)

Without faith, there is no way to live faithfully. And since "the just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4), I want more faith so I can do more living, justly!

I must remember to ask for (and truly want) more faith. Daily.

Lord, increase my faith.

Excerpted from Why?

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy" (2 Timothy 3:2).

Ungratefulness is a sign of the times. Let's not be conformed to the world. Did you ever think of thankfulness as a sign of nonconformity? Thanksgiving is one of the identifying traits of God's people! Let's be faithful in daily living out that distinctive that marks us as separate from the world.

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Expressions of thanksgiving are part of God's will for us. "In everything" is quite all-encompassing. Whatever the circumstance, give thanks to God. But aren't you thankful that it says in instead of for?! To give thanks for everything just seems too much to require, right?

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20).

That verse tell us to give thanks in Jesus' name. We can do that, right? After all, we pray in Jesus' name. We can surely experience gratefulness as representatives of the Lord.

If you think we're scooting on to another verse, hold on just a bit. We aren't done with Ephesians 5:20 yet! "For all things," it says. For, you know! Well, there went the nice little loophole we might have imagined in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 up there. (Incidentally, every thing and all things in those two verses translate the same Greek word.)

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17).

All said and done by the Christian ought to be done in the name of Jesus, with thankgiving. So there you are. As nonconformed Christians, we give thanks in all. And we give thanks for all. And we do all, giving thanks. (And just so you know, these expressions in those three versions all translate the same Greek word: whatsoever and all and every thing and all things.)

We give thanks in Jesus' name. We do all in Jesus' name. This all is God's will. And it's all part of living by faith, of living a grateful faith. Let's be faithful executors of His will.

That's a hard saying. And makes for hard living. But let's not forget the work of God's grace in our hearts each day, moment by moment.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
Even though I may not feel thankful and even though I might actually feel ungrateful, I must give thanks.

That's God's will. And I'm committed to follow Him and do His will.

That is how God wants me to choose to respond in every circumstance.

Excerpted from TWOG 2

Additional Reading

© Copyright 2016 Roth
The Scripture text is what the international standard Sunday School lesson uses for May 8, 2016.

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