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Where Are the Nine?

Leprosy is a slow and shameful death.  It is no wonder that while Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem 10 lepers from a small village cried out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13). Jesus simply told them to show themselves to the priest, which is what must be done in order to be called clean again (Luke 17:14; Lev. 13, 14). As commanded, they begin their journey up to Jerusalem. On their way they are healed. One turns back to praise God and falls on his face before Jesus and thanks Him (Luke 17:15,16). Jesus then asks the question of the Samaritan who had returned, “Where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17).

Being ungrateful is an attribute of those who forsake God. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks” (Romans 1:21). Being ungrateful is an attribute of the rebellious. “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy…” (2 Tim. 3:2). Israel was one of the greatest examples of ungratefulness. From the time they left Egypt, they were already complaining to Moses. We saw that a whole generation had to die in the desert because of their rebellion. In his song and farewell address, Moses reminds the people, “You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth” (Deut. 32:18).

We have been so blessed by God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (Jas. 1:17). For these great gifts we are commanded to be thankful. “In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

God changed the lives of those lepers that were healed, and only one returned to show gratitude. Where were the nine? What are we doing to show our gratitude to God for all that He has done and continues to do for us? Where are the nine on Sunday, when the saints assemble to worship Him? (Acts 20:7; Heb. 10:25)? When the time of the collection takes place on Sunday (1 Cor. 16:2), where are the nine? At any given point in the day, when prayer could be offered to God (1 Thess. 5:16-18), where are the nine? A story is told of a rich man that had seven gold coins. As he was traveling, he had pity on a beggar and gave him six. Not content with what he had, the beggar robbed the rich man of the seventh coin. Would we receive so much from God and rob Him of what is His? Our time, our money, our prayer, our hearts are all His. We must not be guilty of standing with the ungrateful nine. We must stand as the one, thankful for the richness of God.