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? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19, NIV)
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Jesus was traveling and came across ten lepers who were likely both of Jewish and Samaritan descent.
Lepers were forced to live outside the city and could only find community with others afflicted with their illness. So even though generally Jews and Samaritans did not like each other, their exile created the opportunity for interaction.
Leprosy was also thought to be a sign of displeasure from God, an affliction given by Him to those who did not obey Him. The ten approached Jesus along societal norms, at a distance. They were not allowed to come close to anyone who was “clean.” Also, knowing He was at least a prophet from God, they showed respect by calling Him Master, hoping to gain favor from Him.
So they yelled, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
But in calling Jesus “Master,” they humbled themselves. When you label someone as your master, you place yourself as their servant. This showed the lepers’ willingness to obey what He said and do the work He asked of them.
Jesus replied in a manner fitting the name He was called and gave them a task instead of healing them right then and there. He asked them to present themselves to the priest who was the judge of leprosy. The priest could clear their names and allow them to enter back into society. Here, Jesus showed His respect for the laws of society but also created an opportunity for the ten lepers.
“And as they went, they were cleansed.”
I love that the healing came as they were actively participating in the work Jesus called them to do. Often, I desire for my relief to be done without any work on my part. “Jesus, do this thing for me.” I will sit here and wait for it. Many times Jesus calls us to wait, but we are to remain obedient through that period. And walking in obedience is hard. Step after step, in faith, towards the call He has placed on our life.
I wonder if some of the lepers were a little upset that He didn’t heal them right away. Bitterness often creeps up when I feel like I deserve something from God, or that my way/timing/answer is best. It can be hard to keep the right perspective when we feel like we are walking along and He isn’t helping in the way we’d like.
Another tendency, is to take credit for the transformation in our lives because we feel we did all the work. We miss His provisions and mercies along our path and neglect to thank Him for His guidance.
“One of them, when he saw he was healed…” Do we take recognition of the work Jesus is doing in our lives? We get busy many times, caught up in our daily go’s that we don’t even recognize that God has delivered us from stumbling blocks along our path.
The Samaritan leper was awake in his journey. He was observant. He was seeking. And he noticed that Jesus worked while he was on the journey, even though not physically with him. And He does the same for us. He is there even if we feel alone. But it’s our responsibility to notice Him.
So, “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? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then He said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'”
One man returned. One out of ten. Oh this is so telling of Christianity today. I am convicted of how often I don’t return to
Jesus with gratitude. In this miracle we learn to let go of the pursuits of this world to offer praise to our King.
The other nine pursued their worldly goal which was only given by the priest. This is why they did not return. The priest had what they “wanted” and “needed,” not Jesus, or so they thought.
But the reality is that Jesus did not discriminate against the lepers in the first place. He did not ignore them or cast them aside. He was present even when they were unclean. Jesus also didn’t just heal the Jews, He also healed the Samaritan. He healed even the one whose lineage was against God, the pagan, the one who was never taught how to worship Him.
And He showed His pleasure in the leper by redeeming his physical and spiritual life. Jesus takes pleasure in us in our brokenness, but how much more does He take pleasure in our praise to Him!
Ingratitude is such a common sin. The other nine may have received a temporal healing, their bodies were rid of disease, but the one that returned found eternal healing.
This miracle reveals the posture of our heart and the greatness of our God. We are so quick to ask, so quick to pursue worldly success, yet so slow to praise. When we ask in faith, we also need to praise the Author of our faith. He is worthy of it; more worthy than our boss, our spouse, our coach, our pastor, our friends, and ourselves.
When was the last time you or I praised Him like this leper? Throwing ourselves at His feet, thanking Him, and praising Him in a loud voice for everyone to hear. What a sweet abandon given over to praise.
What path has the Lord placed you on? Are you continuing to walk in obedience, or have you given up because the results are not what you want? Are you working hard, feeling alone and not taking notice of the provision around you? Ask yourself, where did God work in my life today? Where were His tender mercies? Pray to become more aware of Him - and praise Him today.
Thank you for joining us today.
Greg, Declare Glory