Summary: We all need to be thankful. What can we learn from a healed leper.
• The following proclamation was made by Governor Bradford in 1623, 3 years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth;
To all ye Pilgrims,
Inasmuch as the great father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the raids of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
• The Pilgrims had a choice to make. They could have thanked God for the fact they were alive and functioning. They could have cursed God for the fact they lost well over half of the people they left England with. Or they could have cursed God because they did not land in FLORIDA! The other choice they had was to just forget about what God did for them and just live out their lives.
• They chose to be thankful. Even though they had a lot they could complain about, they chose to be thankful. They knew who to give the glory to.
• Are you thankful today? Do you realize how much God has blessed you? Even if you have not given your life to Jesus yet, do you realize what God has been doing in your life?
• We can go through life complaining or being thankful.
• Today we are going to look at the healing of the 10 lepers by Jesus as recorded in Luke 17:11-19. As we look at this story, I hope that we can gain a few insights from it that will help us to be thankful for.
I. UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS (11-12)
• Leprosy was a generic term applied to a variety of skin disorders from psoriasis to true leprosy. Its symptoms ranged from white patches on the skin to running sores to the loss of digits on the fingers and toes.
• For the Jews it was dreaded maladies which rendered its victims ceremonially unclean—that is, unfit to worship God (Lev. 13:3). Anyone who came in contact with a leper was also considered unclean. Therefore, lepers were isolated from the rest of the community so that the members of the community could maintain their status as worshipers.
• The disease would manifest itself as a skin condition, but in reality it started down in the joints and bone marrow.
• Today we do not hear much about it all though it still exists in some parts of the world.
• According to the World Health Organization, At the beginning of 2002, the number of leprosy patients in the world was around 635 000, as reported by 106 countries. About 760 000 new cases were detected during 2001 (WHO WEB SITE http://www.who.int/lep/)
• In Jesus day if you had leprosy, the Old Testament Law commanded that you be put out of the city. You could no longer live with friends or family. You had to keep a far distance from the highways. Whenever you were approaching a group of people, you were commanded by Law to yell out, “unclean, unclean” so that people could have the chance to get out of the way. Lepers would congregate together outside of the cities to help each other survive. They would beg at the city gates for food. If you were fortunate enough to have family around, they would leave food for you on a rock and when they left, you cold go get the food.
• The life of the leper could in some way be compared to the way we treated Aids patients when the disease first was recognized. We did not know how it spread so we tried to isolate those with it.
• Being a leper was a terrible way to live your life. As Jesus is getting close to His crucifixion, He is going to come across 10 lepers who after meeting Jesus, their lives would never be the same.
A look at the scriptures
• READ verses 11-12
• These ten men knew they had a problem. They knew they needed help, they knew left to their own they had no hope and a bleak future.