We thank God at the end of every year and celebrate it as a well-known and well-accepted festival. The scripture tells us to thank God in all things and all the time. Thanking God only during specific occasions throws light on our ignorance of His protection that is with us every nanosecond. When we thank God for saving us from a dangerous accident, we inadvertently forget that He is guarding us daily before we even sense the threat. Similarly, thanking God at a specific time shows our ignorance or negligence of His hand on us during all the days of our lives.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Leprosy and the Ritual Rites
The act of Jesus healing the ten lepers and the only one samaritan who came back to Jesus to thank Him profusely motivates us to thank God, and we do thank Him. To make this thanksgiving much more meaningful, we should understand the significance of Jesus asking the lepers to show themselves to their priest. Jesus did not heal them first and then told them to show themselves to their priest, but to show them to their priest while they were still lepers. On another occasion, Jesus healed a leper and asked him to go to his priest with the offerings prescribed in the law. Here Jesus mentioned the purpose as a testimony to the priest and the people. Jesus did not tell the leper to adhere to the law as an atonement but as a thanksgiving.
Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”Matthew 8:4 (NIV)
In ancient times people followed the laws of Moses in the cleansing of leprosy (Leviticus 13&14). A person affected by leprosy should show himself to the priest to get instructions on what to do till the time of his cleansing. Whenever Jesus healed lepers, he instructed them to adhere to the law and do as specified in the law to glorify His name. This act of following the law of Moses misguided people that they were performing the law as an atonement for their sin that caused a contagious disease. As Jesus atoned His life on the cross to save us, all other laws mentioned in the Old Testament as the process of cleansing have become null and void.
Obedience is Greater than Offering
But Samuel replied:1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Obeying God accomplishes His purpose in our lives, whether it is about healing, deliverance, or salvation. Jesus applied mud on the blind eyes of a man and asked him to wash it in the pool of Siloam, and then he received his sight. When Jesus turned the water into wine, he asked the servants to show the water to the master of the banquet. Jesus asked the ten lepers to go and show themselves to their priest when they still had leprosy. Amazingly not bothering about the consequences, they all obeyed Jesus and received their miracle. If we apply our minds to obey God, it is difficult to achieve the result.
Why Should We Thank God?
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
The above verse tells us that if we do everything in the name of the Lord, then we will not hesitate to give thanks to God. We have seen that obedience is more than an offering. Thanking God is not an offering, but it finishes our faith through which we start to obey God. In other words, thanking God completes the cycle of our faith. Receiving faith has four steps, and in all these steps, God is the one who leads without letting us fall. The Bible reminds us that without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
When we use this faith to obey God, the love of God is poured out into our hearts (Romans 5:5). Finally, when we obey God out of love, we receive forgiveness and healing. That is why Jesus says to the people who all received healing that their faith (obedience) has made them well. Let us not go here and there in our anxiety. If we rely on only one God, there is no need to create many ways. There may be countless religions and denominations claiming to know the way, but we have to count on the one and only God. The word of God tells us to be patient at all times to receive our portion from Him.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
Where Are The Others?
Out of ten lepers, a Samaritan returned to Jesus to thank Him. We may think that this Samaritan man did not obey the word of Jesus in going to the priest but returned to Jesus. The reason to follow Jesus is to receive healing but not to perform the old rituals. Once the result happened, this Samaritan man returned to Jesus without any hassle because he did not have any religious law to bind him. While accepting his thanksgiving, Jesus asked him the whereabouts of the others. We fail to thank God, the author, and finisher of our faith but run here and there to perform religious rituals.
The other nine lepers also received the same healing that the samaritan had received, but they failed to discern their source of healing because of ritual bindings. When we fail to understand the reason for our holistic healing, many influencers are ready to claim credit for themselves. When we believe in treatment, the medicines and doctors are the ones who claim credit for our healing, and inadvertently we attribute the cause to them. When we feel light by shedding away our sins in the presence of God and while the blood of Jesus cleanses us, there are religions, priests, and rituals to claim credit, and knowingly we attribute our salvation to one of these elements.
Points to Remember
Thanksgiving is not a separate entity but an integral part of our faith. Without completing our faith cycle, the salvation, the healing or the deliverance that we have received will also remain incomplete. Thanksgiving finishes our faith in all respects. When Jesus performs miracles in our lives, there are always two steps to healing.
Firstly, He initiates it to happen, but it does not last long as our minds waver and attribute it to many other interim sources. Secondly, Jesus completes the healing initiated in our lives when we acknowledge His work. When we do not waver and attribute Him to our salvation, He pronounces the complete and final inseparable healing.
Thanksgiving shapes our faith like a mustard seed which is spherical and less than 2 mm in its diameter. Because the mustard seed is tiny and spherical, we find them complete. Similarly, our faith will become complete when we believe and attribute every success, from petty issues to larger ones to God.
Learn to thank God for everything we have. Jesus was not taken aback when He had only two fishes and five loaves to a crowd of five thousand and more. He thanked His Father for what He gave Him and fed five thousand people as He attributed the small provision to His Father. If we learn to praise God for the inadequacies and diseases, the Provider and the Healer will give a final shape to our faith in all respects. Today’s inadequacies and diseases will become our source to find the incredible love of God if we give Him thanks for everything. Thanksgiving shapes our faith to move every mountain standing in our way.
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”Matthew 17:20