Lesson One


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Memory Verse: Psalm 100:4, 5
Further Study: Luke 17:11-19; The Desire of Ages, pp. 347, 348; The Bible Story, vol. 8, pp. 38-40

My youngest daughter has always naturally been thankful. We never had to work hard to teach her to be grateful. This was illustrated at one birthday celebration when she was quite small. She ripped into the gift with great enthusiasm. Revealing its contents, she said, “Thank you! It’s what I always wanted!” After a slight hesitation, she followed with, “What is it?”

This always makes me chuckle a bit, but this week as I remembered her words, I recognized that we often do the same with God. We usually don’t need a reminder to be thankful. We count our blessings as we should, but sometimes we do this without the deeper acknowledgement that should accompany gratefulness to God.

The story of the 10 lepers is classic in its illustration of gratitude.

The story of the 10 lepers is classic in its illustration of gratitude. Ten lepers call to Jesus from a distance begging mercy from Him. Note that they don’t ask for healing, but mercy. The request for healing is implied. Jesus, in turn, also says nothing about healing in His response. He only bids them to go to the priest. The 10 follow His instructions implicitly and in the process are healed. One returns to Jesus causing Jesus to ask, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17).

The story is definitely a strong reminder to be thankful; to exhibit gratitude to others and to God. But we stop short of recognizing something deeper that becomes life changing. The leper who returned didn’t only return to express his gratitude. Note that he took it a step further. He recognized who Jesus was:  “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving Him thanks” (verses 15, 16).

Ten lepers were healed physically, but one gained an additional healing—a spiritual healing of his heart.

Ten lepers were healed physically, but one gained an additional healing—a spiritual healing of his heart. Nine experienced a turning point in their lives—they could return to normal life. But one gained much more than normal life. In recognizing Jesus as God, he gained salvation.

Being thankful is important. We should be grateful always and teach gratitude to our children. But true thankfulness is not only in our material blessings, but recognizing and accepting what Jesus has done for us by offering us eternal life. Let us find renewal as we express our complete gratitude to God.

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Digging Deeper 

A couple points to ponder this week:

  • The story of the 10 lepers is only found in Luke, so it is only through Luke we gain any insight into the event. It isn’t clear when the lepers were cleansed. Luke writes, “as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). Some suggest this was literally as they turned toward Jerusalem. Others think it was somewhere on the journey. It could be just before they entered the temple. 
  • It would seem the one leper that returned, if the healing occurred at the temple, probably did so over a great distance. He would have made the trip to Jerusalem and then returned, walking about 40 miles each way.
  • Jesus wondered where the other nine lepers were. Where was their gratitude? As He bestows blessings on us, does He have cause to think the same of us today?
  • Note that the lepers found healing “as they went.” It is also as we go, following the command of Jesus to follow Him and tell others of Him, that we find “healing.”


Making it Real

If you are following this series, then you are reading this at the first of the year. January is typically a time to reflect on where we were the previous year and where we are going in the current year. We find ourselves making resolutions, often ones that don’t stick beyond a day or two. But this year, let’s intentionally resolve to be more thankful, but not only for blessings. To be honest, those are the easier parts. The more challenging is to resolve to remember each day the salvation offered by Jesus. Accept His gift each day of this new year (or whenever you are reading). It’s the best demonstration of thankfulness we can do.



Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, who’s delighting everyone with her smiles. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.


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