The fourth Thursday in November is America’s national day of Thanksgiving. To many, it is the kickoff to Christmas shopping. To others, it is family and feasting. Many look forward to parades and football.
Although America’s Thanksgiving does not have distinctly religious roots, Christians can only see the possibilities.
The lesson of the Ten Lepers is often read on Thanksgiving. In it, we find earthly and heavenly meanings. It provides reasons to thank God.
First, like the lepers were without hope, we can only admit our lost state due to sin. Theirs was an incurable physical disease. We face eternal death. We are born with sin, we live in it, and – without God’s intervention – we will forever die in it. Just as the lepers thanked Jesus for physical healing, you and I can thank God for spiritual healing through his Son.
Secondly, Jesus’ healing brought the lepers physical blessings: extension of their lives and the right to return home. Every day, God blesses us physically with “clothing, shoes, food, drink, house, [and] home.” The depth of our blessings is far beyond what we need and can use. We can thank God for these physical blessings.
Most importantly, our greatest blessing is identified through the returning leper’s words and actions. He knew and believed that the one who physically healed him was the One who also brought him spiritual healing. The evangelist notes that this leper—a Samaritan—“came back, praising God…[and] threw himself at Jesus’ feet” (Luke 17:16). Why? That is found in Jesus’ words, “Your faith has made you well” (v. 17). This man’s physical healing was an act of Jesus’ mercy. His spiritual healing—and ours—is God’s gift through faith in Jesus.
Being thankful is always appropriate. The Bible commands, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
As Christians, let us always thank God for our salvation through Jesus.
God bless your Thanksgiving!