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Summary: A short talk given at a midweek communion service. Anyone (absolutely anyone) who calls out to Jesus for pity, mercy, forgiveness, will receive it; but are we thankful? Are we ’whole’?

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Jesus brings wholeness. We bring thankfulness. What have you brought with you to this service of Holy Communion today? By that I don’t mean shopping trolleys, or shopping lists, or an umbrella in case it rains, or that letter which you forgot to post. What have you brought to Church today? Have you come with thankfulness to Jesus today?

Jesus brings wholeness. We bring thankfulness.

As Jesus was travelling towards Jerusalem from the North (17:11) he was just about to enter a village when ten of the local outcasts met him and stood at a distance, near enough for Jesus to hear them as they shouted in his direction, “Jesus, master, have pity on us” (17:12-13)! These ten men had a terrible skin condition and they were deemed to be unclean. No-one wanted anything to do with them. They were shunned and not allowed to live in the village.

They were a little bit like the alcoholics, or the down-and-outs, or the prostitutes or the homeless that I worked with for a couple of years whilst I lived in Bristol for two years. Not many people in the city wanted to mix with ‘that lot’. Official statistics said there were only a few homeless people in the city but the reality was very different. In our town there is a lot of affluence; plenty of shops displaying expensive houses for sale, expensive clothes for sale, and expensive up-market coffee for sale. Pin-striped suites, personalised number plates, posh cars and perfectly manicured finger nails hide the reality which exists behind closed-doors. We don’t have lepers in our town but we have a lot of people who feel that they do not belong – like the lepers. We have many people living in our midst who need healing – like the lepers. We have people in our community who are made to feel unwelcome – like the lepers; people who feel like they lack purpose; people at their wits-end, worried about debt and relationship breakdown.

Many people living in our town are at their wits-end – like the lepers. Many people are desperate to know the reality and the love of God in their lives – like the lepers; many who feel empty inside.

Jesus brings wholeness. We bring thankfulness.

The ten lepers cried out for Jesus to have pity on them and he did. Today, Jesus has pity on all who turn to him, without fail. Do you need to know the mercy, forgiveness, healing and wholeness that Jesus brings? He is ready to bring all of that to you today.

As instructed by Jesus the ten men went to show themselves to the local priests and as they did so they were all cleansed (17:14). Jesus gave them what they needed but strangely only one came back to Jesus to say those ever so important words: “Thank you.” He returned, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him (17:15-16).

I love books or films that have plenty of twists and turns in the plot, especially if there is a big surprise waiting on the last page or in the last few seconds of a film which changes everything. One such book is called “THR3E” by my favourite author Ted Dekker. The twist at the end is immense. I did not see it coming, and Jesus’ parables were often like that. However, this is no parable. This is a real event and yet it has a twist like a parable. Ten men were healed and only one comes to give thanks, and that man is not even a local. He’s not even a Jew. He’s a despised foreigner – a Samaritan – which meant that he had been brought up with a non-orthodox faith. His religious belief system was different and yet he was the one who gave thanks; and it was in giving thanks that Jesus made him whole. Jesus said, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (17:19). He may not have been taught the whole truth about God as a youngster but he encountered Jesus, was cleansed by Jesus, and gave thanks to Jesus and became well!


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