Summary: We all have a deadly problem only Jesus can fix. When we admit our need and cry out for Jesus, stepping out in faith, we receive the power to accomplish the directions God gives us according to the Bible.
Lessons from a Leper
by David O. Dykes
Have you ever had a totally lousy day? I read about a man who was sitting in a bar, looking at his drink. He stayed like that for half-an-hour. Then, a big trouble-making truck driver stepped up next to him, grabbed the drink from him, and gulped it down in one swallow. At that, the man burst into tears. The truck driver said, “Come on man, I was just joking. Here, I’ll buy you another drink. I just can’t stand to see a grown man crying.” “No, it’s not that.” The guy said, “Today day is the worst of my life. First, I overslept and was late to an important meeting. My boss was outrageous and he fired me. When I left the office, I discovered my car had been stolen, and the police said there was nothing they could do. I took a cab home, and as he drove off I realized I left my wallet in the back seat of the taxi. I thought it couldn’t get any worse, but when I walked into my house I found my wife in the arms of another man–and she told me to leave. So I stopped by a chemical store, and then came here. I’ve been sitting here thinking about taking my life…when you come in and drink all my poison!”
That’s a bad day–for both of them! The Bible never promises our lives will be free from pain and difficulties, instead the Bible promises we will have many trials and tribulations in this life. The secret to a successful life is knowing where to turn for help when you have a problem. That’s the lesson we are going to learn today from a man who had leprosy. Let’s read about it beginning in Luke 17:11:
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God is a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.”
As you study the New Testament you find Jesus performed many miracles and He shared many parables. Always take time to pause and look below the surface of the scripture because there is a miracle hidden in every parable, and there is a parable to be found in every miracle. On the surface, Jesus heals ten men of leprosy and only one returned to thank Him. In addition to this miraculous healing, there are some valuable spiritual principles to be found. I want us to look below the surface because I think there are at least seven important lessons we can learn about ourselves.
1. YOU HAVE A DEADLY PROBLEM THAT ONLY JESUS CAN FIX
As a boy in church, I can remember hearing about lepers in the Bible. For a long time I thought the preacher was saying “leopards.” So I pictured Jesus working with big jungle cats. I recall hearing one old country preacher pronounce it “leapers.” So I pictured men who went around jumping all the time. It’s funny the way a child’s mind works! But there is nothing funny about leprosy.
In biblical times, leprosy was a terrible problem. The word was often used to describe a variety of skin diseases, but doctors believe most of the people suffered with what we now call Hansen’s Disease. It starts with a white patch of skin that becomes numb, so much so that the victims cannot even feel a needle piercing the spot. The patch begins to spread all over the body and often manifests itself on the face, so the disease is impossible to hide. It then begins to form spongy tumors on the face and, at the same time, attacks the internal organs as well. The nerve endings become numb so the victim cannot tell when something is hurting him, like fire burning his hand. The leprosy itself was not fatal, but more lepers died from other diseases they contracted because of their weakened condition.
Lepers were called “the walking dead,” and were kicked out of their homes and villages and forced to live in colonies with other lepers. They couldn’t work or worship at the temple.