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A Samaritan's thanksgiving

Mar 19, 2008
Several months ago, I was preparing for a Sunday sermon on thanksgiving. The Lord brought to my attention the Samaritan leper's thanksgiving recorded in Luke 17 verses 11 to 19. This is a very familiar story among Christians. The story goes like this, there were 10 Samaritan lepers who asked Jesus for mercy. Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest. While going there, they found out that they were healed. Sadly, only one of them came back to thank Jesus.

Being a firm believer in expository preaching, I dug deep into the greek words used in the text. I looked up the greek words for "Thanks." The word here is the word "eucharisteo." This is where we get our word for "Eucharist." Eucharisteo is also the same word used in the Gospels when Christs gives thanks for a meal. In the Epistles, the apostle Paul often uses this same word

Interestingly enough, eucharisteo literally means eu = good, well + a form of charis = to favor or thank; to respond to a good favor. Eucharisteo is also used as the verbs form of "favor" or "Charis" in Greek, the modern translation being "Grace."

Looking back at the story and the greek words used, you can clearly see the message that the message that our Lord is trying to convey here. The Lepers were asking for "Mercy" but only one leper got "Grace."

There is a big difference between "Mercy" and "Grace" although we sometimes we used them interchangeably. But in reality they are not the same. To simply point out the difference, note that Mercy is "not getting what you deserve." Grace on the other hand is "getting what you don't deserve." The difference is not just a matter of semantics. There is a huge difference between the two. Because of our sins we deserve to go to Hell. But because of God's mercy we are spared from the punishment of hell. However the reason why we receive eternal life is only because of grace. We do not deserve the eternal life granted to us through the death Jesus Christ, but we received it because of GRACE.

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8 and 9 says that "For by Grace are you saved through faith, it is the gift of God, not works lest any man should boast" The gift spoken of here is "Saving faith." In other words even the faith to believe is given to us by God because by ourselves alone we do not have the ability to believe God by Faith. All we have is natural faith. What we need in order to know Christ is "supernatural faith."

What a joy to know that God gave us "Supernatural faith" in order to truly believe. We should respond to Him in thanksgiving. Certainly, it is not because we have the natural ability to believe in Christ that we received the gift of salvation. We received the gift of salvation because of Him alone and Him alone.

Since he was given what he does not deserve, the Samaritan Leper expressed his thanks to Jesus Christ and the verse says that he "turned back and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks"

He was then asked by Jesus Christ, ""Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are none found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger."

This is the part that I love the most, Jesus furhters tells him to "Arise; go thy way. Thy faith hath made thee whole." In effect, He was saying to the Samaritan Leper "Your faith has saved you."

Truly, the Samaritan Leper got more than what he asked for. He asked for mercy but he got grace instead and with that salvation. Being truly thankful is certainly is worth it !
About the Author
Wish to know more about being thankful ? Visit the blog of Zigfred Diaz where he regularly writes about several topics mainly on financial management, investments, How to invest in the Philippine stock market, faith, theology, law, life and living.
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