Summary: What can you learn from a leper? From this one, coming from the other side of the tracks, you can learn how to act on your faith for healing, and learn to be thankful for all the little things we take for granted.
THE LEPER’S THANKSGIVING
1. A family sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. The eight year old boy asked if he could say “the blessing.” Everyone bowed their heads.
2. He said, “I’m thankful for Mom who cooked the turkey, for father who bought the turkey, for the people at the store where we bought it. I’m thankful for the people on the farm who raised the turkey and for the trucks that carried the turkey to our store.” He paused and said, “Did I leave anybody out?”
3. His 5 year-old brother, impatient to eat, said, “You left out God!” The eight year old replied, “I was about to get to Him!”
4. This points out our own forgetfulness; “Are we going to get to Him this Thanksgiving?
B. HUMOR #2
1. A farmer and an intellectual decided to share the same table at a restaurant, due to crowding. The farmer prayed over his food quietly. The intellectual afterward berated him with being ignorant and superstitious.
2. The farmer did admit that some in his family did not pray. The intellectual replied, “They must be enlightened and progressive! Which family members are they?”
3. The farmer replied, “My pigs!”
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
D. PURPOSE OF THANKSGIVING & THESIS
1. WHEN WE THINK OF THANKSGIVING, WE THINK…
a. Time with family;
b. Some, Time of Rest; Others, Work, if you’re cooking!
c. Food – turkeys, pies, enjoyable eating;
d. Football games, Conversations.
2. Thanksgiving is much more than these things. It teaches us about having a grateful heart and learning to be thankful.
3. We’re going to learn this morning about being thankful from an unusual source – a leper! Follow along as we look at “The Leper’s Thanksgiving.”
I. CONDITION OF THE LEPERS
Imagine what kind of life a leper lived in those days:
A. THEIR POVERTY
1. The modern squalor of slums and ghettos (even with their cardboard shacks, filthy mattresses, rotting clothes, lice, roaches, rats, drugs, alcohol, and AIDS) are palaces in comparison to what lepers lived in.
2. In A.D. 33, there were no disability checks, no welfare, no food card, no hospitals – lepers were completely abandoned. There were no relief organizations.
B. THEY WERE SOCIALLY OSTRACIZED
1. They were cast out of their homes, forbidden from entering any town. They couldn’t have contact with their families.
2. They had to stay off all the roads and if they saw a person approaching them, they were to cover their faces and yell “Unclean! Unclean!”
3. They had to live out in the weather and the only way they could get food was by begging at a distance or picking through garbage dumps.
C. THEIR PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
1. Lepers were hideous to look at. Their noses, lips and ears were usually eaten off. Their teeth had fallen out, and they’d lost fingers, toes and sometimes hands and arms.
2. Their skin often had patches of raw flesh and they had areas that were rotting and stinking.
D. WORST SUFFERING
1. But worst were the haunting memories of loved ones they could never visit again – loving wives or husbands, precious children they longed to see and touch.
2. They’d lost their homes, careers, respect, and all hope of usefulness. The only thing ahead of them was a horrible death!
3. That’s why scripture uses leprosy as a type/ comparison for sin, which eats away your spirit and destroys you.
II. THE LEPERS APPEALED TO JESUS
A. THEY HEARD ABOUT JESUS
1. Jesus of Nazareth, the great prophet, began healing lepers as part of His regular ministry (Lk. 7:22, Mt. 10:8).
2. The reports of lepers being healed must have shot through the leper communities like lightning.
B. THEY WAITED FOR JESUS
1. These 10 lepers heard the report and at once determined to get along the road where they’d heard Jesus was coming down.
2. There they were, waiting for him. They were a pitiful sight: 10 hobbling, filthy, decaying and dying men, each holding up the other.