The nine healed lepers probably had several reasons to keep them from turning around and thanking Jesus. They needed to see the priest, who would officially pronounce them clean and admit them back into the community. And they had families they hadn’t seen in months, maybe years. Who would blame them for wanting to hug their wives and kids as soon as possible?
But Luke focuses our attention on the one who thought to turn back. Consistent with his emphasis throughout his gospel, Luke shows us another “Good Samaritan,” another outsider who had more spiritual sensitivity than the religious insiders.
Like the ungrateful nine, most of us are religious insiders as well. We grew up in Christian homes, or if not, we’ve been in Christ for awhile. Maybe even long enough for it to lose its newness. One of the disadvantages of longevity in Christ is that we can get used to it. We lose the wonder, the amazement, the gratitude for what God has done for us in Christ.
We had something much worse than leprosy, and Jesus cleaned us. As we look ahead to Thanksgiving week, this Sunday morning we’ll reflect on what the grateful Samaritan teaches us about how to respond to God’s goodness toward us.