Summary: Even if we think we have nothing else to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for God’s grace.
The Thanksgiving of Grace
Text: Lk. 17:11-19
1. Illustration: It’s Thanksgiving Day & the aroma of roast turkey fills Charlie Brown’s house. Snoopy, outside, lying on top of his doghouse, smells that aroma, & he is thinking, “It’s Thanksgiving Day. Everybody eats turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” So he lies there, watching the back door, eagerly awaiting his Thanksgiving dinner.
Finally, the door opens & here comes Charlie Brown with a bowl of dog food, & he puts it on the ground. Snoopy gets off his house & stares at the dog food with a forlorn look on his face. And he thinks, “Just because I’m a dog, I have to eat dog food on Thanksgiving Day.”
Then the next square shows him looking at the dog food more intently, & he is thinking, “It could be worse. I could be the turkey.”
2. What do we have to be thankful for?
a. A roof over our heads.
b. Food on our tables.
c. Clothes on our backs.
3. In fact, that last one, grace, ought to be at the top of our list. Why?
a. Because it is by grace that we have all of those other things.
b. Because it is by grace that we are saved.
4. Read Luke 17:11-19
Proposition: Even if we think we have nothing else to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for God’s grace.
Transition: We see very clearly in the story of the Ten Lepers...
I. The Undeservedness of Grace (11-14)
A. Master Have Mercy On Us
1. This text opens with Jesus entering "a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off."
2. Leprosy is a horrible disease."
a. One form of it begins with brownish-red spots on the face, ears, forearms, thighs, and/or buttocks that later become thickened nodules and, losing their skin covering, become ulcers ("sores") with subsequent loss of tissue and then contraction and deformity. - New International Bible Dictionary, Pradis CD-ROM:
b. Another form of it is characterized by numbness of an affected area of skin and deformity such as fingers like claws resulting from paralysis and consequent muscle wasting (atrophy). - New International Bible Dictionary, Pradis CD-ROM
3. The lepers of ancient society were rejected.
a. They were treated as outcasts.
b. They were required to live outside the city in leper camps (Num 5:2-3) and were to cry out to warn others to keep away from then as they walked the streets (Lev 13:45-46).
4. Even though the text tells us that "they stood afar off," it was unlawful for them to even get that close to Jesus.
a. It was presumptuous of them to even come within shouting distance of Jesus.
b. However, they had heard of Jesus, about not only His power to heal but of His compassion.
c. Their faith told them, that even though they were not worthy to be in His presence, He would not reject or turn them away.
5. So in faith "they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
a. The word "mercy" means to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. Two things are essential in order to have mercy: seeing a need and being able to meet that need. —Practical Word Studies in the New Testament
c. Jesus saw their need and did something about it.
6. In verse 14 it says "So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed."
a. When Jesus tells the men to go to the priest to prove that they have been cleansed, it is clear that Jesus has acted to heal them.
b. One does not go to the priest until he or she has been healed, so Jesus’ telling them to go indicates healing will occur. If they believe Jesus, they will obey.
c. As the lepers turn, they are healed. (Bock, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Luke,445).
B. Undeserved Gift
1. Illustration: Although out of pure grace God does not impute our sins to us, He nonetheless did not want to do this until complete and ample satisfaction of His law and His righteousness had been made. Since this was impossible for us, God ordained for us, in our place, One who took upon Himself all the punishment we deserve. He fulfilled the law for us. He averted the judgment of God from us and appeased God’s wrath. Grace, therefore, costs us nothing, but is cost Another much to get it for us. Grace was purchased with an incalculable, infinite treasure, the Son of God Himself." Martin Luther
2. The story of the Ten Lepers is a clear description of God’s grace.