Summary: We ought to live and worship and serve in such a way that our lives become a Te Deum of gratitude to God!
The Tenth Leper
Scripture Reading: Luke 17:11-19
Text: Luke 17:17
A man stood writing at the post office counter one day when an older man shuffled up to him with a postcard in his hand.
“Sir,” the older man said, “would you please address this postcard for me?”
The first man gladly consented, and wrote what the older man dictated to him, and even signed the man’s name to the postcard. When he finished, he extended the postcard and asked, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
The old fellow looked at the card, thought for a moment, and then answered, “Yes. At the end, could you just put ‘P.S. Please excuse the sloppy handwriting!”
I suppose all of us have, at one time or another, performed a thankless task. . .
a gesture or act of kindness
that goes unnoticed or unappreciated--
or worse, which earns us only criticism or reproof.
If that is indeed the case,
well, then, we’re not alone,
for the same thing happened
to the very Son of God
and it’s that event we’re going to learn from this morning in our study of God’s Word.
But before we do that, would you please pray with me:
I pray this morning that you will give us
ears to hear,
eyes to perceive,
minds to comprehend,
hearts to believe,
and the will to apply
your life-giving Word to our lives
from this day forward, Amen.
I would like for you to turn in your Bibles, please,
to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 17. . . .
Luke, the seventeenth chapter . . .
And our text in God’s Word this morning will begin at the 11th verse of that chapter. . . .
So, beginning at Luke 17:11, we’re going to consider an extraordinary passage of Scripture
that has much to teach us at anytime,
but perhaps seldom more appropriately than
at this time of year.
So, if you’ll look with me at Luke 17, verse 11,
we read--and, by the way, I’ll be reading from the New International Version--
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.
Jesus was making a lengthy and dusty journey, on foot, from Galilee to Jerusalem, on a route that lay between Samaria and the region sometimes called “Galilee beyond the Jordan” or Perea.
Finally, his tired, sandalled feet approached a village, where he might be able to rest or eat.
But as he approached the town, his attention was diverted by a group of lepers, ten of them, who- because they were lepers--
had to stay outside the village,
in isolation from everyone except other lepers,
lest they infect others with their dreadful disease.
BUT WHEN THEY SAW JESUS--
maybe they recognized him or one of his disciples,
or maybe the news of his approach had already reached the village--
but in any case, when they saw him,
this HEALER they had heard about,
this MAN who could work MIRACLES,
they lifted themselves onto their decaying feet and
began as best they could to wave their rotting hands,
and shouted as loudly
as their failing strength allowed,
crying out for his attention
to their great and horrible need.
And so, if you’ll look with me to the first few verses of our text for today, you’ll find together
an example of . . .
I CHRIST’S RESPONSE TO MAN’S CRY
Look at verse 12:
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."
I’ll stop there for the moment, and point out to you that as these lepers stood afar off, as they were required by law to do, they cried out,
"Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
And Jesus, as he had done many times already on this trip to Jerusalem, stopped along the road,
arrested by their cries.
You see, Jesus, when he stopped and looked at these ten men who were huddled together outside the city, saw ten wretched,
Leprosy in that day was a grim disease, as hopeless as death. In fact, it was death, except that you died in pieces, a part of you every day. Maybe today a finger would die. Tomorrow, a toe, or even a foot might be gone. Soon after that a nose, an ear. . .
It was a gruesome and progressive disease, and there was no way to treat it . . . Except to cast the leper totally out of society,
away from his home,
away from his family,
away from his friends,
so that his curse would remain his alone.