Summary: It always amazes me how when in the midst of crisis even the vilest people seem to turn to God. It’s something about being completely helpless that makes us think of someone bigger, which is exactly what we see in this story...
Oh God, please help me! Even coming from the most immoral, ungodly person in our society is not all together unfamiliar. We hear people using the name of God all the time, but especially when there is crisis. It is in these times when even the vilest people turn to God because if He doesn’t help them now, there is no hope for another solution. God is diminished into a convenient bellhop whom people call out for in times of great need. Isn’t God more then that?
In the story of the ten lepers we find a very familiar scene, not because we know people with leprosy, but because we know many people who find themselves in desperate situations crying out to God. As it was custom in those days the lepers were put outside of the city to live outcast because of their disease. Often there were whole communities of lepers and so to find 10 of them together here in this story is nothing out of the ordinary. There’s was a lonely and rejected existence and so the thought of being healed and freed from this life was great indeed, but Jesus was doing more then healing, He opening their eyes to something far greater then that.
1. They cried out for mercy (vs. 12-13)
It isn’t hard to imagine someone so desperate for help turning to God and crying out for help. I can think of many times when I called out on the name of the Lord in a cry of desperation. These men were basically dying a slow and unpleasant death and there was no hope for them. With all of the rumors circulating about this man who could heal people and even raise people from the dead something stirred in theirs hearts. What if we could be healed?
I think it is interesting that when people are without choice in a crisis time they will turn to God finally ready to try anything as long as it works. Regardless of how calloused these men might have been when they heard Jesus coming they left any dignity and pride behind for the chance of being healed. They didn’t care about what people were thinking, they only focused on Christ the miracle worker and cried out for mercy. Are you there this morning? Ready to reject all of your own ideas if it means that this same Jesus could touch your life?
2. They did what He said faith and obedience (vs. 14a)
Not surprisingly Jesus heard them. In fact one thing we do know about Jesus is that he responds to those who call out in His name. As they are approaching this town he sees these ten men who would be easily recognized as lepers crying out for him. Jesus knew right away that they had placed all their hope in Him and he told them to go to the temple. What is interesting is that the men were probably thinking that they would be healed when they presented themselves to the priests. Actually Christ never even said anything about what was going to happen to them, they just obeyed in faith.
This is the position everyone needs to be in once they have their attention on Christ. We need to be able to respond to whatever Jesus instructs us to do, even if it makes no sense, just respond in faith and be obedient and trust that the Lord will faithful to meet all our needs. Would you be ready to follow any direction that the Lord gives you this morning knowing that He is going to be faithful?
3. They were all healed (vs. 14b)
When you’re obedient to Christ he will be faithful. As they were running towards the temple they were all healed. The priests had nothing to do with it; it was because of their faith that they were healed. It must have been an exhilarating and absolutely exciting moment for them as they began to realize they the leprosy was disappearing. What had stolen everything they held dear just seemed to be vanishing and their lives as they knew them were being restored. They would have been thinking about seeing their family and friends and how they could embrace their children once more. Everything would be as it should be and this was, without any exaggeration, the best day of their lives. What was decrepit, dying and filthy was being restored by a Savior not bound by the sicknesses and shortcomings of this world.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He has authority over these things today and still accomplishing miracles all over the world. Without any discrimination God heals because of His unending and unimaginable love.
4. One understood the message (vs. 15-19)
What’s interesting is that the story doesn’t end with ten lepers being healed. Although that is a wonderful and miraculous story something was missed by all but one of the lepers. While these men were caught up in how their lives were given back to them and how life would be normal, as it should be, only one stopped to get the real point of what Jesus did that day. I believe that the point of this great event was not to an opportunity for Jesus to showcase His powers and authority, but a chance to show ten rejected and desperate lepers that He loved them very much. As they were jumping and getting caught up in the moment the Samaritan man slowed down and stopped, as he looked as it his body, now whole. He was gripped with something greater then himself, something he didn’t understand, someone had showed him a love greater than any he had ever seen before. Why did he love me so? He had to thank him; he had to make sure Jesus knew that he was grateful and give him the glory he so obviously deserved. With that he turns and looks trying to find this one they called Jesus. Through the crowd he runs and finally sees him. As everything seems to stop around him he falls down at the feet of Christ who had given him life and wholeness.