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Summary: A sermon for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

19th Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 17:11-19

"Lord Have Mercy"

Traveling one day along the border between Galilee and Samaria, on His way to Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus approached a village where ten seriously ill men came out to meet Him. Ten lepers met Jesus, ten men afflicted by the worst disease imaginable in Jesus’ day. Leprosy was incurable, leprosy was disgusting, leprosy was revolting. Leprosy was considered proof that you were the vilest kind of sinner. God was really punishing you for something really bad. If you had leprosy, you actually watched your body rot away. Your fingers, your ears, your nose dropped off. You died a slow and painful death, cut off from society, cut off from family and the only friendships you had were others like you. Nine others in this case that kept reminding you as you looked at them how really bad you were. Ten lepers, ten dying, decaying, stinking wretches met Jesus and cried, "Jesus Master Have mercy on Us."

They must have known this was their only chance to escape the awful consequences of their disease. If Jesus did nothing for them, surely their lives would end in a slow painful death.

"Jesus, Master, have mercy on us " Can you imagine that air was filled with tension as the ten lepers, as ten lives hung on the words or actions of the Man of Galilee.

"Jesus, Master, Have Mercy on Us".

He didn’t touch them.

"Jesus Master, Have mercy on us".

He didn’t wash them.

"Jesus, Master have mercy on us."

He didn’t even pray for them.

Finally, finally after what seemed to be an eternity for these desperate men, Jesus spoke: "Go, show yourselves to the priests." In other words, Jesus was saying, go to the priests for certificates of cleansing. They weren’t healthy--but they were to go and get a health certificate to proclaim they were healed. Jesus said, "Go get a physical examination."

Can you imagine their situation. They must have stood and looked at each other and then started to debate this command. They might have said, "But we have already been there and they couldn’t do anything for us. You have got to be kidding.

Go show ourselves to the priests. They had surely expected something more, something else. Something of their desperation, and their growing, but doubting faith and confidence led these ten men to turn and start walking toward the priests. Something about this man of Galilee led them to obey, to go, to do what they had done before, but this time Jesus had told them to go.

Then it happened. At some point, some instant--quite by surprise---those ten outcast lepers were changed. Every diseased cell in their bodies were changed. Every cell suddenly sprang into full health signaled by an unseen force. A force of events which began in a twinkle of an eye, in a flash of excitement as one of the ten noticed his body becoming healthy.

Who was the first to notice? We don’t know, but with tremendous swiftness the reaction must have sped through the group. In amazement, they stopped, looked at their hands, their feet, at each others ears, they were whole, they had been changed, Jesus had done it again. His reputation was true. Ten suffering human beings had been touched by the Son of God. Ten suffering men had encountered the touch of a loving God. Ten suffering men had been touched by the creating hand of God that was still very much at work in his world.


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David Schultz

commented on Nov 22, 2011

I especially liked the thought...although I have spoken on this countless times in 50 years of ministry....that the 9 felt that because of their plight in life, that healing was their entitlement. Then because their humility was not present, they went on their way. Characteristic of much of life, isn''t it?

Richard Clapp

commented on Oct 7, 2016

I think sometimes that we are a little harsh about the 9 lepers who didn't return to thank Jesus. They obviously did as Jesus commanded in going to present themselves to the priests. I think however that being human, and having suffered all those years of being separated from and ridiculed by family and friends, their reaction to their healing was one of Joy. I prefer to think that they gave their thanks to God at the synagogue and were so overcome with joy at being cured, that they ran to show their family and friends with the now new found ability to HUG and kiss them for the first time since they contracted leprosy. Although we would all like to be the one who returned to give thanks, I have a tendency to think most of us would be among the 90, not the 10. Thanks be to God for his grace and forgiveness!. Rev. Richard Clapp.

Fred Sigle

commented on Nov 16, 2016

One can only hope that the other nine gave praise to God when they went to the priests. However, it is clear form the text that even Jesus was disappointed with the other nine who didn't "return and give praise to God." Like you, I do hope and pray that we are like the one who returns to give thanks.

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