Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 20 Issue 25 October 10, 2010
Luke 17:11-19 “Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Leprosy in Biblical times was a terrible thing. It was considered incurable and those who were infected with it were banned from society and considered “unclean”.
“The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.” Leviticus 13:45-46
“As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.” Luke 17:12a
Jesus is just outside of the village and he meets a group of lepers. It wasn't uncommon for lepers to group together out side the villages. They formed their own society, the “untouchables”. They depended on the compassion of the villagers for food and clothing and they depended on each other for fellowship.
“They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Luke 17:12b-13
The lepers ask for pity, they didn't ask for healing, just pity.
They were perhaps hoping for some food, clothing or shelter, or whatever Jesus decided to offer. This text does not indicate that they were asking for healing.
“When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14
There would only be one reason to go to the local priest. For it was the priests and only priests, according to Jewish law that could declare a person healed of leprosy, and fit to re-enter society. Leviticus 14
Jesus doesn't say that they are healed, but certainly implies it. That is why they had to go and receive a clean bill of health from the official who could grant it.
Verse 14b is the key to understanding what happened. “And as they went, they were cleansed.”
Literally, “in the going, they were cleansed.”
I know we’re talking about giving thanks, but it is imperative you see this “Key” point.
The word “cleansed” signifies action at a single point of time in the past tense, rather than action over a period of time.
There came a point, as they began
to obey Jesus, that their healing
took place all of a sudden.
They believed him (had faith) and received their healing as a result.
Faith is exhibited in what we actually DO.
As Jesus' brother James says, In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead James 2:17
We're not told how they discover that they were indeed healed, but it doesn't seem to take long.
It may have gone something like this:
Looking at one of his comrades, a leper says, “Hey, where is your leprosy? Your face is clear.” Then all of them begin to
examine themselves and sure enough, they ARE healed. “Hooray! O’ happy day! We can go back to our families, we have our life back!”
“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan.” Luke17:15-16
All ten lepers realized they are healed, but only one comes all the way
back to Jesus, praising God for His mercy in healing him.
Notice the words “loud voice” in verse 15. The lepers had called out loudly to ask for mercy; but only this leper offers loud thanksgiving and praise.
Oh that our thanksgiving were as loud as our cries for help!
Notice the thankful leper’s response. He throws himself at Jesus’ feet. This is a sign of utter humility.
The leper first gives glory to God and then he thanks Jesus. Not quietly in his heart or prayer closet but at the top of his lungs right out in public!
“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:17-18
Strangely, the only thankful one is a non-Jew. Jesus blesses him, by saying, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:19
The phrase “made you well” (NIV) or “made thee whole” (KJV) is commonly translated “to save”.
This passage hints at the fact that Jesus
offers this leper more than the others.
They received healing, but this Samaritan, this stranger to the covenant of promise, receives a deeper salvation in addition.
His faith prompted him to return to
the feet of Jesus in thanks,
and that personal contact,
that personal submission,
signifies a soul healing
that is more than skin deep.
Something happened in him more, much more than being healed from leprosy.
One central lesson of this story is that the faith that healed the lepers was by acting on Jesus’ words.
Jesus said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests”, implying that they were healed.
If they would of waited to see if they were healed before heading off to the priest, they never would have started walking.
That is a fact, because the healing didn't take place until AFTER they obeyed.
We sometimes want instantaneous healing before we’ll believe that Jesus heals us.
But the faith here is shown in the going. “Your faith has made you well”.
The point for us today is clear - that being not only does Jesus expect us to show gratitude, He knows when we don’t!
In this account we call the “Thankful Leper”, Jesus is clearly angry at the ingratitude of the nine lepers who didn't return.
We must train ourselves to show thanks, to give thanks, to in fact be filled with thanks.
Without thankfulness, we can’t be
pleasing to our Lord Jesus.
A life of thanksgiving is a life of prayer.
· Before going to the priests to be declared healed
· Before the things we have to do
· Before we get immersed in our everyday activities.
Thanksgiving first then our requests.
Finally, gratitude is an important component in our salvation.
Were all ten lepers healed? Yes!
Were they all saved? Yes, in the sense that they were rescued from their disease.
But….not in the sense of drawing close to God in thankfulness and dependence.
The nine were saved physically, but not spiritually. Healing that doesn't bring a person to Jesus is incomplete and stunted.
God grant that we will on occasion be thankful enough to be boisterously thankful. Thankful enough to throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet.
Friends, it is far too easy to forget to thank God for His many blessings!
GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART
GIVE THANKS TO THE HOLY ONE
GIVE THANKS BECAUSE HE’S GIVEN
JESUS CHRIST, HIS SON