Luke added, “Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner’” (Lk. 17:17-18)? Jesus was asking, “Was no one of the nine Jews found to praise God except this Samaritan, this foreigner?” The word “foreigner” is used in the sign in the Temple in Jerusalem that disallowed the entry of foreigners. (J. Nolland) A foreigner is an outsider. He is outside of the covenant of God with Israel and outside of the community of God.
The nine Jews should have turned back to Jesus. But only this foreigner turned back. The nine Jews should have praised the Lord their God. But only this foreigner praised God. The nine Jews should have worshiped God. But only this foreigner worshiped God. The nine Jews should have thanked Jesus. But only this foreigner thanked Jesus.
This is the problem of thanklessness. More people are not grateful to God. Sometimes, church people do not thank Jesus gratefully. It takes a foreigner, an outsider, a new follower of Christ, to praise God loudly, to worship Jesus fervently and to thank Him gratefully.
If Israel will not give thanks to her God, God will seek the thanksgiving of those outside of Israel. In Acts, we see the conversion of Samaritans to Jesus. We see the work of the Spirit in reaching various peoples with the Gospel. Our God is a missionary God. He seeks and saves people from every tribe and tongue. He is concerned with the Samaritan, the Somalian, and the South African. In Revelation, John saw people from every tribe, tongue, and nation who stood before the throne and worshiped the Lamb (Rev. 7:9).
Let us overcome the problem of thanklessness by making new disciples who will worship God. Let us join God in His work of bringing people from every nation to Christ.