Summary: From these ten lepers we can learn some valuable lessons about being thankful.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 46
“Learning To Be Thankful!”
Ingratitude denotes immaturity, either physical or spiritual. Infants do not always appreciate what parents do for them. They have short memories. Their concern is not what you did for me yesterday, but what are you doing for me now. The past is meaningless and so is the future. They live for the present. As we grow up we learn to appreciate what others do for us. But as we grow; physically and spiritually if we do not learn to express gratitude to others and to God it is a sign of immaturity.
Turn to Luke 17, in verse seventeen as Jesus travels along the border of Samaria and Galilee he encounters ten lepers. Luke is the only Gospel in which we find the story of these ten lepers. This account fits in well with the previous text because it shows that instead of owing us anything we owe God everything.
From these ten lepers we can learn some valuable lessons about being thankful. Why is it that we forget to be thankful? The word “thank” actually comes from the Old German word (thangle) with means “to think.” [Online Etymology Dictionary. www.geocities.com/etymonline/Tep-Thi.]
It should be easy to understand then that thinking always precedes thanking. When we receive a gift it is only as we stop to think of the significance and meaning of the gift that we are led to express our appreciation. This morning we want to note that we learn to be thankful when…
1. We learn to be thankful when… we think about the fact of how desperate our situation is before we met Jesus. (vv. 11-12)
“Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. (12) Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.”
Leprosy was the most feared disease of its time. The closest emotional equivalent today would to be told that you have AIDS. The disease of leprosy was a painful disease but the physical pain was no the most terrible part of the disorder. It first meant they had to face isolation. They were shut off from their family. They were shut off from their friends. They were even shut off from God, in the sense that they could no longer enter the temple to worship. Lepers were swept into isolated colonies and required that when anyone ventured too close to cry out in humiliation, “Unclean, Unclean!!!” (Lev. 13:45-46)
Secondly, it meant humiliation. Can you imagine having children point their fingers at you and either laugh or run in fear? Can you imagine what it was like to have everyone turn their eyes in distaste when they saw you? Can you imagine having to rely on the pity of people in order to have enough to eat? Leprosy was an especially humiliating disease because; those who had leprosy were thought to be suffering because of their sin. They were thought to be unclean, and incapable of having a right relationship with God. They made to feel that they were even isolated from God.
Leprosy also meant a total loss of your way of life. You had been left to die. Which brings to the final effect of a diagnosis of leprosy. You are dying, a slow and horrible death.
You are dying today! And before you met Jesus you were dying and lost!
We learn to be thankful when … we think about the fact of how desperate our situation is before we met Jesus and …
2. We learn to be thankful when … we think about the fact of what we have gained. (vv. 13-14)
They kept there distance as prescribed by law, but they certainly did not keep quiet. These lepers only hope is Jesus and His mercy does not let them down. In verse thirteen, we told, “And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” They asked for “mercy.” They were not asking for what they deserved they were pleading for mercy. The word “mercy” translates (eleeo) and means “to help one afflicted or seeking aid.” It is an aorist active imperative verb. The aorist means they are not asking for gradual healing. The imperative here is not in the sense of a command but conveys the urgency of the request.
Then in verse fourteen, “So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests… (v. 14)." The Old Testament law required that a person who was healed of leprosy was to go to the priest for inspection and proclamation that the person was healed. In fact it is the exact reversal of the way in which they were declared lepers in the first place (Lev. 14).