Summary: I think we learn several things about gratitude when we look at the story of the ten lepers and Jesus.
Cultivating a Grateful Heart
INTRODUCTION... Inventions (http://inventors.about.com)
We live in an amazing world. We have so much and so many things to make our lives easier. We should be thankful that we live in this modern technological age!
Did you realize that until 1750, a thing such as glue did not exist?
How did floors and carpets get cleaned before 1901 when the vacuum was invented?
What was breakfast like before 1906 when cornflakes were invented?
Did you realize that until 1910, no person used aluminum foil to cook with?
Do you know what people put leftovers in before 1947 when tupperware was invented?
Where did we eat before 1954 when McDonalds opened?
Did you realize that the remote control did not hit American homes until 1956?
Did you realize that it wasn’t until the mid 1970s that ATMs were around?
How did we remind ourselves before 1974 when post-it notes were invented?
What did people do who hate eyeglasses do before 1987 when disposable contact lenses were invented?
We live in a world with such comforts, do we not!? Our world today is easier and more comfortable and more desirable than ever before. Things are constantly being invented to reshape our world and create a better life. In fact, in 2004 Popular Science Magazine showed the best recreation invention which was a shoe by the Adidas company with a built in microprocessor that decides how soft or firm support the wearer needs. That is comfort! Those things that I mentioned are certainly things to be grateful for.
Today we are going to look at a passage that is all about cultivating a grateful heart.
READ LUKE 17:11-19
The opening verses of this passage tell us a little bit about what Jesus was doing. We was traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem. This trip of His would eventually end in His death. When traveling with Jesus, however, you never got to go around Samaria like other people. All the Jews of the day would travel around Samaria and then cross back over the Jordan to reach Jerusalem. Jesus marched His followers right through Samaria (see John 4). In fact, Jesus even commands His apostles to preach the message in Samaria as part of their mission field (Acts 1:8). We find this event begins when Jesus stops in a village on His journey.
I TEN MEN WITH THE SAME PROBLEM
The story of this passage begins while Jesus is still on the outskirts of the village. Jesus is met by ten men
with leprosy. What is leprosy? Leprosy is a slowly progressing and incurable skin disease. Biblical leprosy was the name given to all skin diseases, but the most common type of leprosy was probably a severe type of psoriasis that is very rare in modern times. They had no cure and it was very infectious. So, the people were put out of the population and were to fend for themselves so they would not infect the rest of the people. It makes sense that as Jesus approached this village, that the lepers met Him. They were outside the town because they were infected. All ten of these men were infected with these painful sores.
All of these men would have had trouble getting food or shelter. They were struggling to survive. Verse 12 tells us that they stood at a distance. They could not go near other people. These lepers had to stand at a distance from all people and even from Jesus. All of these men would have wished themselves back in their homes with their families. All of these men would have wished for steady work and good meals. But they had none of that. And then they saw Jesus.
II. TEN MEN WITH THE SAME PRAYER
All ten of these men had the same request. Luke 17:13 records it for us, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" These men spot Jesus from a distance and ask Him to show them mercy. They ask Him to heal them of this skin disease that has ruined their lives. They ask Jesus to act on any pity He may be feeling for them and to restore them to health.
ILLUSTRATION... Thankful Prayer (www.sermoncentral,com contributed illustration)
"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.’"