Summary: Here in the story of the Leper who returned to thank Jesus, we see a very powerful gospel message, and message that will question your relationship with Jesus.
This sermon was delivered to both St Oswalds in Maybole and St John's churchs in Girvan, Scotland UK on the 13th October 2013.
Prayer: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable to you O Lord. Amen.
Although today’s Gospel reading is very familiar, it is very powerful in its meaning, showing us basically what our Christian faith is all about; … it is just like this leper who returned to thank Jesus, as we suffer from an even more, debilitating disease called Sin; as it’s a deadly sickness that only Jesus can cure.
We therefore are instructed to follow this poor leper’s example and admit that we are sick, … call out to Jesus for help, … step out in faith to receive that healing; … thank him for the cure, … and then witness that healing being manifested. It sounds so simple, but you know as I do, that life can be very difficult; full of trials and tribulations; but … the bible goes on to say that we are not to worry, ... as “Jesus has over come the world”.
The secret to success therefore is in knowing where too turn for help; and for us, that is Jesus, … the son of God. Now the New Testament tells us that Jesus performed many miracles, and below the surface of these miracles we see a Gospel story, but we also see a Gospel story in every miracle; and so today we find a Gospel meaning, … in the healing of the leper who returned.
1. We all have a deadly disease called sin that only Jesus can cure.
Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.
The Lepers back then were called “the walking dead,” as they were literally kicked out of their homes, villages, churches, … and forced to live in colonies with other lepers, because their disease was so contagious, being easily passed on to others; and although none of us here today have leprosy, that is a pretty good description of us before we came to know the Lord. We were all born with a deadly disease called Sin; … a disease that caused us to be spiritual outcasts from the kingdom of God.
Sin is the disease we inherited from our parents, who inherited it from their parents and so on; all the way back to Adam and Eve, and so we live in a world that is sick; and sin is rife.
Sin is a disease that we struggle to measure, as no MRI, or CAT scan or any other diagnostic tool can detect, but God’s Word says it’s there, and it is eating away at us, bit by bit, like an insidious cancer; growing in our souls; and destroying our very life. … So what can we do about it? Well, we do the same as these lepers here, acknowledge the sickness, and seek the help of Jesus.
2. YOU MUST ADMIT YOUR NEED AND CRY OUT TO JESUS
Now this was easy for them, they knew they were sick, and they had Jesus passing through their territory; so … the ten of them banded together, and with one voice cried out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”!
Too many people today are living in denial, as they will not acknowledge their sin, in fact, they will never admit they have done, (or are doing things) wrong: and too them, to admit their faults is a sign of weakness; as it hurts their pride knowing that others will see them as weak; where in fact, we see them as weak for denying their Sin.
We here in the church find it easy to admit our sin; we start our very service with the Collect for Purity admitting we have done wrong … knowing fine that the Lord will forgive us on the Absolution. It is not weakness to admit our faults, it is strength through humility; and it is mighty powerful. It is like saying yes I know I have messed up, but through the Lord Jesus Christ, I will overcome that weakness, and no one will have anything on me.
Yes we are not drug dealers or a child molester or murderers or anything like that but we, like them, still sin in a manner that offends God, and we need to acknowledge that before we can receive his help. … I mean think out it, how can we receive help for something we do even admit is a problem. Before we can have a relationship with God through Jesus … we must say, (in our own words of course), “Father forgive me, for I am sinned; have mercy on me”!
3. God’s Power is not realised until we step out in faith.