Summary: Only one leper came back to say thank you. Why was this so important? How did he receive grace that the other 9 did not?
On the Road with Jesus: The Leper
March 17, 2019
Last week we began our Lenten series entitled, “On the Road with Jesus”. During Jesus ministry he traveled throughout Palestine bringing a message of hope and love. Jesus most often taught in the local synagogues but he wasn’t restrained to it. As Jesus traveled he also performed many miracles. Some of them are recorded in the gospels but many of them are not. Most of the recorded miracles are miracles of healing.
Many were healed at the touch of Jesus. While this made many happy and these actions helped many to believe in the message that Jesus was teaching, others were not so sure. The religious elite had many confrontations with Jesus. On more than one occasion Jesus life had been threatened but each time Jesus was able to escape unharmed.
Jesus safety around the city of Jerusalem was suspect. The last time Jesus had been near Jerusalem some had wanted to stone him and so Jesus had largely stayed away from Jerusalem until Lazarus. At great risk to his own life Jesus came very near to Jerusalem to raise Lazarus from the dead. After doing so it was decided by the Pharisees that Jesus was too great a risk to public safety and to their political position. Jesus was a wanted man.
In these final weeks Jesus would make his return to Jerusalem. These are the stories of the people he encountered on his way. We heard how last week he raised Lazarus from the dead and gave him life.
This week we hear from another sick man. His story is found in the gospel of Luke 17:11-19.
As you listen to his encounter with Jesus some creative liberties have been taken but his encounter with Jesus is true. You are encouraged to read the story for yourself. This morning however you invite you to hear this first person account when he encountered Jesus on the road.
Begin by yelling…..Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!
Oh I guess I don’t need to yell that anymore now do I? Old habits die hard I guess. I had leprosy for so long that I’m still getting used to being back around people again. That’s right I used to have leprosy.
Leprosy is such a nasty disease. I don’t know what I did to get leprosy. Most would say that it was a curse from God because of the sin in my life. I just remember that I started to get some strange spots on my skin. They first started to appear on my hands and my feet. I can’t really say that they hurt that much. I thought maybe I had gotten into something that I was reacting too but when it didn’t go away I was afraid that it was something much worse.
I was afraid to go and see the priest. I was afraid of what he would say. I had tried to cover it up but I just couldn’t any longer. When we had a skin problem we were to go and see the priest and see what he had to say about it. All the way back in the time of Moses guidelines were established about diseases of the flesh. Leviticus 13 and 14 instruct the priests on what to do with certain kinds of skin disease. I couldn’t put it off any longer and so I went to see what he had to say.
I could tell by the look on his face that it was not a good sign. He looked at my hands and at my feet and he asked me when I first noticed the spots. I told him that I couldn’t remember exactly when but I had it for a while and it didn’t seem to get any better.
He told me that for now I was considered unclean. I would not be allowed in the synagogue. He told me that I would need to be in isolation for the next seven days. He would examine me again in seven days but it needed to be outside of town. I was still hopeful that it would go away but I think I knew in my heart already what was going on.
I spent the next week by myself. I missed my family. They had put provisions out for me so that I would have the necessities that I needed but other than that I had just kept to myself, away from everyone else.
My skin wasn’t getting any better in fact it seemed to get a little worse. I went back in seven days to see the priest like he said. He confirmed what I had feared. I had leprosy. He told me that I was unclean and that I was not to come into contact with people because I could give them this disease.