Summary: Using the story about the Ten Lepers who were clenased I talk about the reasons why followers of Christ should be thankful today.
Read Luke 17:11-19
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. Now, we can’t just read that verse and move on. There is an important truth about this verse and that is when Luke says Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem he wants us to know that He is on his way to the cross. On his way he travels between the borders of Samaria and Galilee. Ten men who have leprosy here that Jesus is coming and get as close to him as they can. They cry out, Jesus, Master have mercy on us! Leprosy is a horrible diseas that deteriorates the skin. Those diagnosed with it could not live with the rest of the community. They had to be ostracized and live away from the camp. They couldn’t even go to the place of worship. Yet, Jesus hears their request and tells them to go show themselves to the priest. According to Leviticus 13 and 14, the priest was the one who would examine the leper and see if he was cleansed and allowed back into society or tole to remain quarantined. So, on their way they were cleansed. Whether or not they got to the Temple or not one of them could not help but return to Jesus and humble himself and thank the Lord Almighty.
This story paints a picture much like our world today. We want God’s gifts but we don’t want him. We want healing but we don’t want the Healer. We want Redemption but we don’t want the Redeemer. This simply should not be.
As we approach Thanksgiving this next week may this story remind us of what we should be thankful for.
I. I am thankful that my leprosy of the soul has been cleansed.
None of us here is suffering from the skin disease leprosy but all of us had or has leprosy of the heart. Leprosy of the heart is a heart cold to the gospel and has no room for God. A heart that is sinful. We like the lepers have to cry out "unclean, unclean." When we let Jesus restore us and come in our hearts he makes us clean. For that, we should be eternally grateful.
ILLUSTRATION: This week we have seen the one of the positive results of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. When the Taliban was forced out of some of those major cities there was great rejoicing in the streets. For the first time in years music could be heard from jam boxes, children were carrying balloons, and men were dancing in the street. Something they were not able to do before. You see, freedom is cause for great celebration. That’s is one of the reasons why we are here tonight. To celebrate the freedom Christ has given us because we are cleansed!
II. I am also thankful that God is approachable
Verse 12 tells us that the lepers stood at a distance. They couldn’t touch anyone. They were separated from all..even the Son of God from their illness. If they touched or came too close to someone then they would be considered unclean. But when the ten lepers go see the priest and are cleansed we see the One Samaritan "ex-leper" come and fall down at his feet in worship and gratitude. Aren’t you glad God is approachable? Anyone can come to God through Christ. Before that sin and rebellion stands in the way. Now we have access to his very throne.
Hebrews 4:16 says "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence!" We have confidence through Christ to approach him at any moment of the day.
ILLUSTRATION: Growing up I was a big Houston Oiler fan. My grandparents used to take us to watch them practice when they had their training camp in San Angelo, Texas. I never got to see them play a regular game but I did get to watch them when they scrimmaged the Cowboys in San Antonio. I was so excited. Warren Moon was my idol and I was going to be able to watch him live! I remember it was the highlight of my year. At the end of the scrimmage I heard the most tremendous news I ever heard--they were going to let us on the field to take pictures and meet the players! This was like icing on the cake and better than the game itself for a young teenager who followed the Oilers. When I stepped on that turf I could hardly believe my eyes as Warren Moon walked right in front of me. It brought a whole new perspective for me and it was a day I will never forget!
Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to sit in the stands but we are able to literally step into the presence of God?! God is approachable and for that we need to be thankful.