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Why did the leper’s faith make him well?

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:17-19

            Jesus healed ten lepers, telling them to go and show themselves to the priest, which was an Old Testament directive to determine final cleansing and allow the infected person to return to society, no longer an outcast.  Only one, though, returned to Jesus.  He was a Samaritan, who had no relationship with the temple and didn’t have to show himself to the priest.  Instead, he knelt before Jesus and thanked him.

            The Samaritan realized something the other nine missed.  Jesus was God and deserved the thanks first, not the religious system of the day.  By thanking Jesus, Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well.”  Wasn’t the tenth leper as well as the other nine?  All ten were healed physically, but the tenth leper was whole spiritually.  He connected with Jesus personally, making him a priority.  The other nine went on their ways religiously, returning to their old ways, missing the most important thing. 

            Thankfulness is healing because it humbles the thanks-giver mentally and spiritually and magnifies the one being thanked.  The leper did that and got an extra dose of healing in his life.