Sermon:
There were many things you didn’t want to be in Jesus’ time two of them were a leper or a Samaritan.
Brief synopsis of leprosy (not meant to gross you out): loss of feeling/nerve endings that cause sores.
Samaritans were considered half-breeds.
A funny thing happened when a Samaritan contracted leprosy. He quickly had Jewish friends; well the Jews that had leprosy anyway. “Misery loves company.” More accurately, when we are in trouble, we tend not to look at surface things that divide us.
*Read Luke 17:11-19.
The lepers “stood at a distance” because the Law* required them to stay at a distance from all people except their fellow lepers. They were to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!” as people approached. *Lev. 13 and *Numbers 5. The legal distance for lepers to stay away was about a half of a football field.* Imagine the isolation that they felt.
Jesus had a reputation. (Explain.) They called out to him. Why? What did they expect? Charity (money or food)? Or, healing?
Do you notice something interesting about this passage? Jesus doesn’t tell them right away that they are healed. In many miracles he did that, but not here. He simply told them to go see the priest. That was the requirement of the Law for one who was healed leprosy. The priest was required to inspect them, to make sure. They had to offer the proper sacrifices and so forth. They didn’t argue with Jesus’ command. They simply obeyed in faith, and went as commanded. While they were going, a miracle happened; they were healed.
Can you imagine the feeling? They healing power of God coursing through you veins as they awful, debilitating, ostracizing disease left your body. *No doubt they were all overjoyed. *
They all experienced the cleansing. One of them, the oft-hated Samaritan, wheeled around to came back to Jesus. **He ran back to Jesus grabbed his feet and thanked him profusely.
Was Jesus expecting a “thank-you”? I don’t know. *He interrogates the man. *Read v. 17-18.
I find it interesting that the one who would be considered a racial enemy of Jesus was the only one who bothered to come back. We don’t know the racial make-up of the other nine. They could have all been Jews, or all Samaritans, or a mixture. The point is that one who had the least in common with Jesus came back.
*What does all this tell us about anything?
I. *Jesus hears our groan.
Jesus always stopped to help someone in need. On his way to heal Jairus’ daughter, he stopped to heal the woman who reached out to touch the edge of his robe. He didn’t tell her to wait her turn.
On several occasions the Psalmist asks God to “hear my prayer” or to “hear my cry.”
Jesus heard the cries of these men. Likely the leprosy had affected their ability to speak loudly or to yell. In all the commotion, though, Jesus heard their cries from half a football field away. When they cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us,” the force of those words is: “please feel sympathy with