Summary: The powerful lesson of gratefulness as taught in the account of the 10 lepers.
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!" John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life." "But you must!" implored his companion. "The bull is catching up to us." "All right," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ’O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.’"
If there is one sin that 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.”
For a child of God thankfulness is not confined to a day or a season, it is an attitude that we should have everyday and every hour.
To magnify this point I want us to examine the account of the ten lepers in Luke’s Gospel and see some important truths concerning an attitude of gratitude.
I. The Position Of All!
Look at verses 11 and 12. “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:”
We see here the position of the lepers. Firstly,
· They Were In An Awful Position- Luke says here they stood afar off. The disease of lepercy was a painful disease but the physical pain was not the most terrible part of the disorder. Lepers were separated. They were shut out and cast off. It seems here that these lepers were shut out to an area away from everyone else. They were shut out from their Family. No one knows how long it had been since they had felt the touch of their wife or the kiss of their children. They were shut out from their Friends. Friends no longer came over or invited them to go somewhere with them. They were shut out from Fellowship of the church. Notice that Jesus on his way to Jerusalem entered into a certain village and there met the lepers. The religious crowd had no room for these leprous men. But most awful, they were shut out from the Father. Here is Jesus, the only way to the Father, and they stood afar off from him. Sinners are not near God, they are afar off. And they cannot and will not draw near on their own. Do you know what kept them at a distance? The Law. The law shut them out. The law set forth the conduct of lepers. The law said when you pass one, pass on the other side and cry out Unclean! Unclean! Sin puts us in an awful position. And they were all in this awful position.
· They Were In An Approachable Position- Here are these men living shut out lives. But I am grateful this morning that where the law says man cannot go, Jesus goes. What the law declares off limits, Jesus barges in. When the law passes on the other side, Jesus makes it a point to make contact. Oh, listen, Jesus came to save sinners. He went this way on purpose because even in the awful position sin puts us in, Jesus is able to reach us and to save us. My family can’t help me, my friends can’t help me, the church can’t help me, but Jesus can. And while we stand afar off from him, he does not stand afar off from us. When they could not get to Jesus, Jesus got to them. When they could not come to him, he came to them.
But they were all in the same position!
II. The Prayer Of All!
Now look at verses 13 and 14. “And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.”
All ten utter the same prayer. Notice two things here quickly.