By Em Sumaway
Let’s start with the basics. What is the meaning of the word, “Thanks”? This is how most dictionaries would define it: “Thanks” is appreciation, gratitude, kind thoughts or feelings toward any one for favors or services received. That seems very straightforward. No one needs to be told that.
But what is “Thanks” for the Christian? It’s similar but with a little variation. “Thanks” for the Christian is appreciation, gratitude, kind thoughts or feelings toward God in heaven for favors or services received. We firmly believe that even though we receive a lot of help from the people around us, God Himself ultimately blesses us.
Their Money’s Worth
Rudyard Kipling at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. A few college students, however, did not appreciate Kipling’s writings. They facetiously sent him a letter and enclosed ten shillings. It read, “Please send us your best word.” They got back a letter from Kipling that said, “Thanks.” Is that your best word, too? I hope it is.
In our Gospel reading there were ten men healed by Jesus from their leprosy. He commanded them to present themselves to the priest and when they turned to obey, Jesus healed them. In Jewish culture, the priest is the only one that can declare a man clean if he was previously deemed unclean because of some health condition or something that he touched or handled. The priest then can arbitrarily decide who is no longer unclean and certify anyone as clean.
It is remarkable then that even before the ten men were able to present themselves before the priest they were already healed. This is the import of the verb “as they went” in verse 14 which is in the present tense. While they were on their way to see the priest, God miraculously cured them from leprosy. Nine of them were probably so focused and so excited in getting their “Certificate of Cleanness,” that they forgot to thank Jesus. But one of them saw beyond all that happened. He acknowledged that his cleanness was made possible by Jesus Himself and not because of some certificate he would receive. In the first place, these ten men asked for Jesus, and not the priests, to heal them.