Summary: Have you ever been so desperate that you’ve said, “God, I need a miracle!”? Miracles are supernatural events that offer hope and healing to people in need.
Few things evoked unmitigated fear and near national panic as the image, you see in front of you. Known by some as hemorrhagic fever, this deadly disease is better known as Ebola. All eyes were on Texas in the Fall of last year (2014) when a patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, carried the lethal virus from West Africa to Dallas while visiting family here. The 42-year-old Liberian was first admitted to the emergency room of Texas Health Presbyterian but no one knew he was infected with Ebola … yet. It was several days later on a Sunday, when he was in the process of treatment for Ebola that two health care professionals also contracted the disease. One health care worker, who was later diagnosed with the disease, even traveled by plane to the north part of the United States, setting ablaze fears. Sadly, within a few short weeks, Thomas Eric Duncan passed away on October 8, 2014, despite some of the best efforts of medical professionals.
Have you ever been so desperate that you’ve said, “God, I need a miracle!”? Miracles are supernatural events that offer hope and healing to people in need. Inside the pages of the Bible, these supernatural acts often go by three names … Miracles are concentrated in the gospel narratives and Acts in the New Testament. And in the ministry of Moses and Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament.
1) Signs – some act of might and power that points to God’s hand and His power; The second name miracles often go by is the word…
2) Wonders – the word is frequently used in the Gospels to describe people’s reaction to miracles. People are amazed or astonished.
And the third name you’ll see is this…
3) Miracles – the most common name is simply a miracle. God shows off His divine power, if you will. And there’s no greater concentration of miracles anywhere than in the life of Jesus, the Christ. He walked on water, gave sight to the blind, and called storms with a motion of His hand. I am one to stand and say, “I believe in miracles. I really do.” We started this series on Easter with the resurrection, we’ve examined Jesus’ feeding the 5,000, and we have witnessed controversy over Jesus’ healing in His day. Today, we finish off our study by seeing ten men experience supernatural healing at once.
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:7-19)
Again, Miracles are supernatural events that offer hope and healing to people in need. But few people were feeling hopeful a year ago when several cases of Ebola were being reported in the United States. With the World Health Organization estimated some 22,000 suspected cases of the disease and some 9,000 deaths, mainly abroad, … we were even beginning to feel the emotional impact of the disease here at home. The panic of seeing people carted away in plastic body bags by medical professionals in yellow hazmat suits scared even Donald Trump. The billionaire expressed his views that the United States border should be closed to doctors and missionaries working with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse who had contracted the disease while serving “the least of them.” The ancient disease of leprosy is another world away for most of us – until something like Ebola visits us.
What is Leprosy? While you can still find leprosy in underdeveloped nations of the world, but it’s largely forgotten. Leprosy was a disease of despair where few could help. The term for leprosy in the Bible can be a wide range of skin conditions in modern medical terminology. But seeing the ten men from our story were essentially like seeing ten men climbing out of their very own graves. Seeing these men were to see walking lesions, swollen areas of the skin, or untold nerve damage. Again, we have little way of connecting back to the ancient fears other than seeing our reaction to Ebola just a few months ago. Fear spread so greatly that even airline stocks began to decline and people began wearing sanitary masks for fear of coming in contact with Ebola. Eric Williams, who was running from Congress in Dallas, advocated a citywide “no-contact” policy – no handshakes and no hugs. Even public schools began closely monitoring their students.