Sermons

Summary: First-person account of a thankful healed leper. Thanksgiving helps us grow in our relationship with God.

Allow me to introduce myself.

I’m a businessman from the city of Ginae, in the country of Samaria. I believe you would call it the West Bank now, but back then the Romans were in power.

Lovely wife, two smart kids.

You can just call me Sam.

It all started one day with a little red sore on my face.

Hmm, I thought. It’ll go away.

But it didn’t.

I began to worry at it.

A week later, my wife says, “you should get that looked at.”

Yah, I’ll get to it.

Three weeks later, it was bigger, and getting kind of scaly.

Ok, I’m going to the doctor.

He took a good look at it, and told me, you need to go see the priest. Now.

Off I went to the priest.

He looked at my cheek, frowned, and told me, this could be serious. You need to quarantine for a week.

Wow.

A whole week by myself, consumed with worry.

Couldn’t see my wife.

Surely it couldn’t be. I have plans. I have a business. I have a family. I have a life to live.

After 7 days, the priest examined me again, very carefully.

I’m sorry, but you have leprosy.

A whole new identity thrust on me.

I am a leper. I am unclean. I am one of ‘those’ people.

The priest read me a passage from Leviticus.

Leviticus 13:45, 46

"Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare, and he shall cover his mustache, and cry “Unclean! Unclean!”

In Hebrew, "unclean" is pronounced (taw-may') (what is it in Aramaic?)

"He shall dwell alone, his dwelling shall be outside the camp."

And so I left my city, my family, my business, my life, shouting taw-may!, taw-may!

Mothers hustled their children away from me.

My fellow businessmen drew back from me.

My own children, wanting to run to me, but holding back

taw-may!, taw-may!

Out I went, to join a colony of lepers.

Leprosy is not physically painful, since the nerves die off. That is just the problem. I was removing a pot from the fire, and thought I smelled meat burning. But I had forgotten to use a stick to lift the pot handle, and grabbed it with my hand instead. Didn’t feel a thing. Got a nasty burn.

But the pain was in my mind. The isolation, the loneliness.

The loathing of everyone who sees me or hears me. I loathed myself.

And thinking this is punishment from God for my sins.

taw-may! taw-may!

And then I heard a report about a leper who was healed by a Jewish rabbi named Jesus.

The man was full of leprosy, yet Jesus was willing to heal him. Jesus even touched him.

Cleansed! Jesus told him to go show himself to the priest, just to make it official.

If Jesus could make him clean, He could make me clean.

I’d heard that Jesus had visited Sychar here in Samaria a couple years ago. Just 20 miles from here.

I determined to seek Jesus for healing

A few months later, I heard Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem through Samaria. This was my chance.

Travel is difficult for a leper.

We have to avoid healthy people, avoid the roads and crowds.

There are no inns that cater to lepers.

No one would sell us food, but we don’t have any money anyhow.

Jesus is always surrounded by crowds. Have to cross his path in the countryside.

I met some other lepers, Jews. We decided to join forces.

Found out what village he was going to, and hustled as best we could through the fields to the village entrance.

Waited for Jesus outside of a village.

We were off to one side, 100 paces from the road. That’s how far we have to stay away from people. (that’s about the length of a football field to you).

taw-may! taw-may!

Finally saw a large group approaching. This was our chance.

We waved our arms, and shouted together, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” x3

Some of us, just a dry whisper, from the leprosy.

And Jesus saw us.

He quieted the group around him, and listened to our feeble cry.

And Jesus shouted back, “Go, show yourselves to the priests” (wave off)

There was no touch.

No command to “be cleansed.”

No sudden euphoria.

There we stood, a wretched band of decaying humanity, and Jesus stood expectantly.

But there was a note of authority in His voice.

I said, “lets go!”

And so we stumbled and hobbled off to find the priests

taw-may! taw-may!

Ow! I stubbed my toe on a rock. Pain! I feel pain!

I hadn’t felt anything in that foot for a year!

My face – was soft.

I looked at myself all over. Not a trace of leprosy!

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