SCRIPTURE: Luke 17:11-19
If there is one sin that is most prevalent today, it is the sin of ingratitude. God does so much for us. Our indebtedness to him is enormous and yet we rarely or at least infrequently offer thanks for what he has done. In fact, most professing Christians don’t even offer thanks over their meals much less offer thanks over all that God does in their lives. We are much like the little boy who was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back and said, “Peel it.” Michael Belcher sermoncentral
Jesus is on His journey goes through Samaria. Keep in mind what it meant to be a Samaritan. Jesus does not favor the Jew over the Samaritan, the Jew over the Gentile, the Black over the White, rich over the poor, the beautiful over the not-so-beautiful, etc. If you do, you are not seeing them the way that God intends you to see them.
As we look at these men, we will find that they are bound together by having many things in common.
Leprosy was the most feared illness in that time. The term “leprosy,” as used in the Bible, referred to a wide variety of infectious skin rashes, scales, sores, or eruptions, not just clinical leprosy as we know it today.
Leprosy was incurable, leprosy was disgusting, leprosy was revolting. Leprosy was considered proof that you were the vilest kind of sinner. God was really punishing you for something really bad. If you had leprosy, you actually watched your body rot away. Your fingers, your ears, your nose dropped off. You died a slow and painful death, cut off from society, cut off from family and the only friendships you had were others like you.
Stood off at a distance, as they were required by law. They were unclean, and it was not lawful for them to come near to those who were in health. As Jesus was traveling, they were also walking in the contrary way, and seeing him, and knowing that they were unclean, they stopped or turned aside, so that they might not expose others to the contagion.
3. Ten men bound together by a common misery, and utterly unable to save themselves.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Like leprosy, sin separates.
Afar Off Ephesians 2:16 “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one bodyby the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”
Although we may have many companions in sin, that does not in any way detract from the guilt of each.
They saw and they sensed their need. You don’t pray and call out for help unless you feel your need. The reason sinners don’t come to Christ for salvation is that they don’t sense their need.
Again, Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
We all have had this in common. At some point in our lives, sin reigned in our mortal bodies. We were slaves to sin.
The Cry of A Leper
Luke 17:13 “And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Luke 18:13 “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Psalms 38:18 “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”
Faith in the Word of Christ.
It may also be observed that this required no small measure of “faith” on their part, for he did not “first” heal them, and then tell them to go; he told them to go without “expressly” assuring them that they would be healed, and without, “as yet,” any evidence to show to the priest. So sinners defiled with the leprosy of sin, should put faith in the Lord Jesus and obey his commands, with the fullest confidence that he is able to heal them, and that he “will” do it if they follow his directions; and that in due time they shall have the fullest evidence that their peace is made with God, and that their souls shall by him be declared free from the defilement of sin. Albert Barnes
uke 17:14 “And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.”
If they had waited until they felt better before they went, they never would have gone. It is while we believe and obey that we enter into life.
Only one turned back and glorified God. Luke 17:15
This story paints a picture much like our world today. We want God’s gifts but we don’t want Him. We want healing but we don’t want the Healer. We want Redemption but we don’t want the Redeemer. This simply should not be.
An experience H. A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant: Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s just what he does too!”
Have you ever wondered why only one healed leper returned to thank Jesus? I guess we’ll never really know… but here are nine suggested reasons why the other nine did not return:
1. Maybe one waited to see if the cure was real.
2. Maybe one waited to see if it would last.
3. Maybe one said he would go see Jesus later.
4. Maybe one decided that he had never had leprosy in the first place.
5. Maybe one said he would have gotten well anyway.
6. Maybe one gave the glory to the priests.
7. Maybe one said, “Jesus didn’t really do anything. All He did was tell me to go…”
8. Maybe one said, “Any rabbi could have done that.”
9. Maybe one said, “I was already getting better anyway.”
By dwelling on the fact that only one in ten came back, Jesus is telling us very plainly He wanted the thanks. He wanted them to see beyond the miracle to the miracle worker. He wanted them to come into a relationship with him.
Luke 17:16 “And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was
Rewarded --> Made not only well, but made whole.
The point made here is that unless gratitude is a part of our nature, we can’t be whole people. The other nine were merely healed. If ingratitude is more deadly than leprosy, they were in worse shape than before. Only one came back and was made well – He was made whole.
We all want to think we are the one that would stop, turn back, and give Him thanks.
But, where are the nine? Are you one of them? Where are you among the ten?