Today is Different, but Normal

Another Sunday in 2020 where we are not having any services at the church.  We have had 10-11 COVID positive families in our church family that I am aware of.  There could be more.  The result is for us to take a break in meeting together today for the sake of curtailing the spread of the virus in the church family, so no Sunday worship.  That is different.

What is not different is that today is the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day.  A day that is set aside as a national holiday for the giving of thanks to God as a nation.  Truth may be better told that it is a day for feasting and football.  However, the important thing for us on this Sunday in November is to turn our hearts and minds toward the Lord and spend time praising Him for who He is and thanking Him for all that He has provided.

I would like to reflect on a story from Jesus walk on earth that causes me to reflect on our current circumstances.  I find the story in Luke chapter 17:11-19:


“While traveling to Jerusalem, He passed between Samaria and Galilee.

As He entered a village, 10 men with leprosy met Him.  They stood at a

distance and raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’

When He saw them, He told them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’

And while they were going, they were cleansed.  But one of them seeing

that He was healed, returned and, with a loud voice gave glory to God.

He fell face down at His feet, thanking Him.  And he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus said, ‘Were not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine? Didn’t any

return to give glory to God except this foreigner?’

And He told him, ‘Get up and go on your way.  Your faith has saved you.’”


A simple story of man’s need, and Jesus provision.  Yet this provision changed men’s lives.  Jesus was on the move, preaching and teaching everywhere people would gather and listen, and Jesus would encounter people wherever He saw them.  This is just such an incidence.   Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and His path took Him between Samaria and Galilee where He entered a non-identified village.  Here, ten men with leprosy met Him standing at a distance.  They were not allowed to get close to the village or close to any non-diseased individuals.  They were highly contagious, but more than infecting a person, they could make a “clean” person defiled if there was any contact.  So, their social distancing had to be practiced for the benefit of others.  Just like our social distancing for us. From a distance they called out to Jesus, calling Him, “Master, have mercy on us!”

I think it is interesting that they did not say Jesus heal us, they said Master have mercy on us.  How did they know it was Jesus?  The scripture doesn’t say, but certainly they had heard about Jesus and a couple of the lepers may have even seen Him before at a greater distance.  They used a term that was primarily used by Jesus’ disciples and that is Master, otherwise they would have ordinarily called Him “Rabbi” or “teacher”.  Master would have implied that Jesus had authority to extend mercy to the men and in this instance, the mercy they sought was healing.  “When Jesus saw them” must have meant that He heard the men first and then saw who they were, and then responded to them, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.”  Their healing would need to be observed by the priests, so they could be pronounced clean and given ceremonial cleansing rituals.  The men obeyed, they headed off to the priests and they were healed as they went.

The story takes a turn at this point.  Although there were 10 that were in the group and were healed as they went to the priests, there was one who healing brought a different response.  He returned to Jesus before he went to the priests.  He loudly gave glory to God facedown at the feet of Jesus, thanking Him.  Then Scripture notes that the man was a Samaritan.  An outsider so to speak.

When I seek God for mercy, healing, His provision and He provides, I sometimes take it for granted, after all God should heal His children.  That is presumption and arrogance and is not the right attitude.  Sometimes God does not heal in a manner we may ask, so when we do ask and God provides we too like the Samaritan should find ourselves in deep gratitude offering thanks for God’s provision at the feet of Jesus.

Jesus asked a question to the man, but I believe He was asking His disciples and the others who may been with Him on His travel to Jerusalem.  “Were not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine?  Didn’t any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?”  Jesus indicated that there was more in the heart of a foreigner than in the religious oriented Jews.  They were physically healed of the leprosy.  But the God-fearing foreigner, the Samaritan encountered much more.  Jesus told him, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.”    

Not only would the Samaritan be healed of the leprosy, but He would find a spiritual wholeness in Jesus by the faith He exercised demonstrating belief in the Jesus, His authority and His Lordship.  Indeed, the Samaritan had much to give thanks for.

Today as we prepare for Thanksgiving, I think it is a good time to reflect on what it means to give thanks to Jesus for all He has provided.  God has provided Salvation through His Son; we have hope of eternal life through Jesus.  God provides all things for believers and even non-believers.  The story bears this out, but believers come back to the feet of Jesus and offer thanksgiving to Jesus and glorify God.  Of course, believers are to give thanks continuously, “give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

What is normal about today?  That as believers we are to count the blessings God has given, even making a list of His provisions and faithfulness. Then we should be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God today and all through the week, falling at the feet of Jesus and gratefully worshiping Him.  Let’s be a thankful people.   Be sure to pray and give thanks for our church family, for healings, and provisions.