Being Grateful and Whole
All diseases are painful and debilitating, but leprosy was one of the worst. Leprosy today is also called Hansen’s disease and in ancient Greece Elephantiasis. It takes four to eight years to fully develop. Leprosy has affected humanity for over 4,000 years, and was recognized in the civilizations of ancient China, Egypt and India.
It starts gradually. When infected at first, a person may notice discoloration of the skin and a loss of sensitivity of your skin. Slowly, nerves will deteriorate. Lumps may develop under the skin. As the disease progresses, the nerve damage will get worse. The leper may completely lose feeling in your limbs and, as a result of this, can easily damage them. The nerve damage can even lead to paralysis. There is also a possibility of blindness. The infection eats away the skin in various places on the body as it gets worse. Noses, facial features are destroyed, people lose their fingers, toes, hands and feet.
In Israel lepers were banded from society and had to wear torn clothes and his hair should be untidy and disordered. Lepers should live alone outside the camp. They had to cover their upper lip and shout “unclean, unclean” in order to keep their distance from non-lepers. They formed their own colonies but could be seen positioned near traffic ways to make appeals for charity. They lived a miserable life.
The man healed was a Samaritan who was shunned by the Jews and looked upon a dogs, thus these lepers had a double burden. Yet, he was in the company of nine Jewish lepers. The stigma of leprosy was so great even racial differences was of no importance.
I. Jesus meets the ten lepers as he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. Luke 17:11-12
There is no question they had heard of Jesus and His power to heal the sick. Maybe even heard of His healing other lepers. His first healing of a leper was after the Sermon on the mount in Galilee as recorded in Matthew 8. Surely they heard of it.
From the legal distance of 100 yards they rose and cried unto Jesus to heal them. They cried “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (V13)
B. Jesus simply responses saying “Go shew yourselves to the priests.”
It took some degree of faith to respond and obey the Lord, but if you think about it.....men in their condition would do anything, seek any help, any cure, and do anything that gave them even the slightest hope of healing.
So the ten lepers turned and probably hurriedly and began to walk away in the direction that would take them to the priests.
At this point they were not healed. Maybe they thought the priest would heal them....the New Testament does not say, but they obeyed the Lord.
C. As they went, how far we do not know, but certainly some distance, they all were healed. They never made it to the priests.
Can you imagine the amazement, one minute they were in the misery, pain, and humiliation of leprosy and the next moment their skin was restored, pure and clean like the skin of a baby!
Two things we see here. First he with a loud voice. Leprosy often effects the voice, but now being fully healed he voice as strong.
Also He glorified WHO? God! Where did He think the healing came from. Who did he think had healed him? He knew only God could preform such a miracle.
I am often amazed at those who deny the Trinity and that Jesus was God incarnate in the flesh. There is hardy a page in the New Testament that does not declare this truth.
How do we know this? Verse 16 says he fell down as Jesus’ feet and worshiped Him. Folks you do not worship a man. This was known to both Jew and Samaritan.
But you say....the verse does not say the Samaritan worshiped Him, but only says he thanked Him. Is not thanking God an act of worship?! Is not falling down as Jesus’ feet an act of worship...certainly without question.
This man knew who healed him and he was grateful.
We know the others were Jews because Jesus called the man a stranger.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” (Luke 17:17-18)
Do you understand that ingratitude is a sin? Gratitude is not something you show once in a while when you think the situation calls for it.
Biblical gratitude is an attitude...the attitude of always being aware of God’s presence and His intervene in our lives. I think some have the false ideal that worship is done on Sunday morning only... If I go to church, sing some songs, give a little money, hear a sermon...then I have worshiped the Lord. The child of God should be in a constant state of worship and a gauge of true worship is seen in our degree of gratefulness to the Lord.
Thursday Carolyn was cleaning the church and she came into the office for a moment to tell me we would be away for a few minutes to visit a friend. I had received our monthly support report and I told her what it was. She said, “Thank the Lord, Cooper he is so good to us.” She explained we had some extra expense last month and the funds we received would take care of it. She then said something I had never heard anyone say. She said “Cooper do you think the Lord gets tried of hearing us thank Him?” You know what my answer was! God is good isn’t He.
The gratitude shown by the Samaritan was a sign of his character and spiritual condition. He had truly been spiritually reborn. His actions and attitude show that clearly. Only spiritual people, those truly born again, can understand and show true spiritually.
So often, once a person has what he wants, he never comes back to show gratitude. Nowadays, we talk about the ungrateful as having “a sense of entitlement.”
Our past election showed that is mentality of America today. It is my personal opinion that many people were so worried about the government providing for them, they ignored this administration, President, and government they voted for is immoral, promoting abortion and homosexuality and same sex marriage.
So you may ask what is the point of the message and of this passage? There are several.
All of us have observed those who made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and who later waned in their faith and became complacent. Many who profess to be Christians are not faithful to the Lord. We cannot judge the condition of their hearts, but we can observe their actions and plainly see apathy and a lack of commitment.
“Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.” (2 Samuel 22:50)
“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.” (1 Chronicles 16:8)
Almost every time the Bible uses the phrase it is an expression of gratitude from God’s, mercy, grace, blessing.
Another element of giving thanks is in the two verses we quoted. These verses show how we can not only express our thankfulness but how to put it into action.
One way is to tell others of the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ and His salvation. “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” (Psalms 30:4) Holiness means separation from sin, being completely righteous.
There is faith that does not save, because it produces no real gratitude in a person’s heart.
However, the tenth leper’s faith was saving faith because his faith directed his actions and he returned and praised the Lord and thanked Him for his mercy.
I looked up the word “whole” and it literally means “to save, to deliver or to protect.”
This tells us the man was saved. The Lord forgave his sins, he delivered him from the penalty of his sins, gave him eternal life, and also....protected him for all eternity.
That former leper is without question in heaven with his Lord at this very moment. The leper through healed in his body and given a new nature still had the old carnal nature that would destroy him. But salvation brought not only forgiveness, but protection even from his carnal nature. He had the full assurance of his salvation.
I was reading a message by another Baptist preacher and he told the couple in his church who came to him and said they wanted to give a sum of money in memory for their son who died in combat. They said they were Grateful to the Lord for his salvation and that the Lord had given them such a wonderful son. The pastor asked if they wanted him to tell the congregation and they said they would like that. The husband of another couple on the way home spoke to his wife and said, “Honey, let us give a offering to the Lord for our son.” The wife replied, “What? Our son is alive!” The father replied.... “Honey, that is my point.”
Three questions this morning.
2. If you have....Are you grateful to Him for saving you?
3. If you say you are grateful....then how are you showing it? Is being grateful the constant attitude of your heart. Are you obeying Him? Are you being faithful and are committed to serving him. Are you a testimony and witness to others. Are you seeking the lost in your life?
It is always encouraging to receive email from those who find the messages helpful, or who have comments.