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Advent Devotional: Second Sunday After Christmas Day

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Risen with Healing in His Wings

Our Gratitude Glorifies God

January 3, 2021

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks.” —Luke 17:15-16

While making his way to Calvary and the cross, Jesus was in the wilderness between Samaria and Galilee when he met ten lepers. In those days, lepers were social outcasts separated from their families and community— much like coronavirus patients on strict quarantine.

The ten lepers “stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’” (Luke 17:11-13). This is the kind of prayer that God loves to answer: a desperate cry for help offered in the name of his Son.

Yet the main emphasis of the story is not so much on how Jesus cured the lepers by the power of his words. Rather, it is on the way one leper responded to God’s mercy: “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks” (Luke 17:15-16).

Only one man out of ten went back to say “thank you.” Sadly, this is a microcosm of humanity. Is any sin more characteristic of our fallen race than ingratitude? Ingratitude is a direct assault on God’s glory, suggesting that God owes us whatever he gives us, and we owe him nothing in return.

To guard against this sin is to follow the tenth leper’s example and return thanks to God on every occasion of his blessing. Whenever the sun dawns on a bright new day, whenever we sit down to a meal, whenever God works in a broken relationship, whenever we are confronted with problems that force us to depend on God, whenever we experience God’s healing hand on our lives, it is time for us to praise him.

The best way to show our gratitude to God is to praise him and live for his glory. Let us praise him for his tender compassion; for the miracles that cured the sick and raised the dead; for the wisdom in his teaching; and for his love for lost and lonely people—sinners just like us.

As we welcome 2021 and hope for better days, let us praise God for the privilege of a fresh start, for family and friends, and for the courage and strength to share the love and compassion of Christ with a hurting world.


Reflective Question

When it comes to showing gratitude, are you more like the tenth leper who said thanks—or the other nine?

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