Summary: This sermon explains the importance of thankfulness.
Luke 17:11-19 Don’t Forget To Tell Him Thank You
By Rev. Ashton E. Alexander
There was a man who was well established that had vacationed to Jamaica for the summer. One afternoon after enjoying himself at the beach, he decided to grab a bit to eat from Burger King. After which, a seemingly homeless man had asked him for a meal. The well established man commenced by telling the deprived man that he had already eaten all of the food that he had purchased, but the homeless man assured the welthy gentlemen that the left overs were sufficient for him. Then the man ate all of the food that the wealthy man did not eat from the bag, and he GAVE THANKS TO HEAVEN. What a stirring demonstration of gratitude! The deprived man did not complain; rather, he gave thanks.
Although this might be something seemingly small to most, it reinforces how vitally important it is to be thankful. However, there are some who have received a great deal of considerable blessings from God and still want thank him for his unfailing faithfulness. We ought to thank God for his precious provisions, prevailing power, past performances, profound presence and perpetual promises, but we must avoid thinking that “thank you” exhausts our gratitude for the faithfulness and mercy of the Lord. As a matter of fact, the common employment of the term “thank you” is used as a gesture to express one’s gratitude. The stirring sentiments of the seasoned saints are that 10,000 tongues are not even enough to begin to thank the Lord for his guidance, governance, and goodness to His people.
To magnify the importance of thankfulness, the text shows us one who is gracious of the blessings of Jesus and nine that disregard his goodness. Each time I survey this text it appears to be perpetual pregnancy. Despite one’s familiarity of the text, the need to acquire a spirit of gratitude is always a profound truth the will continue to speak to the hearts of God’s people. Let us explore and examine the activity of the text.
Luke, an associate of Paul and a renowned physician of his time, is presented as the third gospel of the Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Historically, the book was purposefully written to address Theophilus. This writing is aimed at illustrating the complete authority of Jesus over all things and events. Hence, we see the number of miracles that Jesus performed. Being that Luke was a physician, he specifically tries to present Jesus as the Great Physician.
In this particular passage Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee, and as he entered a village, colony, of ten lepers, according to verse 11. Thus, we see the first condition of the next; namely, their constant misery (vs.12). The men were certainly in undesirable circumstances. The law had restricted the men from daily interactions with society. For Leviticus 13: 46 says, “The person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothed and let the hair of his head be disheveled.’’ The phrase of verse 12, “And they stood afar” emphasizes the restrictions the lepers endured under the law. It was unlawful for lepers towards there to come near health, according to rabbinic customs. Can imagine living a life independent from the general population?
In addition to experiencing restrictions under the law, the lepers also endured physical agony. Individuals with leprosy were usually identified by the deteriorating skin. Leprosy was an ailment that commenced from the inside and traveled to the outside.
It was essential that I spent time giving a description of leprosy so that you can see their desperation for restoration. Vs. 13 tells us that all 10 lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” All ten lepers suffered together and all 10 now pray with each other. They were all unified their common ailment; namely, leprosy. In a very real sense the lepers had enough! Not only do we see the constant misery of the lepers, we also see the concern of the Master. After crying out to Jesus, he said go show thy selves unto to press, and as they went they were cleansed. Jesus granted the men of their request. What a profound demonstration of our caring Savior! Regardless of what you have experienced and endured throughout the course of your life, he will show compassion on you. In a real sense, the men were asking for compassion from the Lord. Every believer ought to beg God for his compassion because without compassion, we are unable to deal with life’s struggles.
There will come a time in everyone’s life when they request the tender mercy of the Lord. Presently, we say Lord have mercy loosely, without any meaning. For instance, if you are late for work they say, "Lord have Mercy". When you hear a funny joke from one of your friends, you say,"Lord have Mercy." Even when you see a stranger that is dressed horribly,you say,"Lord have mecy." Heaven forbid, but if you are walking around and your heel breaks from your shoe, or your stocking rips, you say,"Lord have mercy." However, when you have sinned against God, you say things such as: Lord you know I am just human, Lord you know I really did not mean to do it, Lord you know my flesh is weak,Lord you are God and you knew I was going to sin anyhow. I know that we currently ignore the true necessity of mercy, but one day you will seriously have to request the mercy of the Lord. Dr. Ralph West defines Mercy as simply,"God’s active pity." Accepting that defintion, I am extremely thankful for God’s active pity. When we were undeserving of any type of divine favor, Gods grants it to us anyhow. What a merciful God!