Summary: Showing an attitude of gratitude for all that Jesus has done in our lives.
Illustration: Rudyard Kipling
He lived from 1865 to 1936. He was English, yet born in Bombay, India. He wrote poetry and is the author of books like Captain Courageous, How the Leopard Got His Spots, and The Jungle Books. Who was this man? Rudyard Kipling.
Kipling’s writings not only made him famous but also brought him a fortune. A newspaper reporter came up to him once and said, "Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over one hundred dollars a word.”
The reporter reached into his pocket and pulled out a one hundred-dollar bill and gave it to Kipling and said, “Here’s a one hundred dollar bill, Mr. Kipling. Now you give me one of your hundred dollar words.”
Rudyard Kipling looked at the money, put it in his pocket and said, "Thanks!"
Well, the word "thanks" is certainly a one hundred dollar word. In fact, I would say it is more like a million-dollar word. It’s a small word but it has a powerful meaning. It might only have 6 letters but it gets across a message that few other words are capable of achieving.
When that little word is missing, we feel it deeply. You know what it’s like when someone doesn’t say "thanks" – you feel hurt, used, ignored, and taken for granted and you wonder why you bothered to do something for the person in the first place.
The subject of this message, obviously, is “Thankfulness.”
[READ LUKE 17:11-19]
The title for this message is “What have you done for me lately?”
When we stop to think about it, God really has done a lot for us lately – as well as in our past and will do in our future. To examine this, I want us to take notice of some striking similarities we have with these 10 lepers…
1. We have a common Affliction (v. 12)
a. A Lepers’ affliction - “…who stood at a distance”
They had to stand at a distance from Jesus. They were not allowed to come near anybody. They had to keep a distance of a minimum of six feet from other people including their family members. Furthermore, lepers were not allowed to live within the walls of any city. They were cast out and completely avoided by everyone.
As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, “Unclean! Unclean!” He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Lev 13:45-46)
Leprosy was the most feared illness in that time. The term “leprosy,” as used in the Bible, referred to a wide variety of infectious skin rashes, scales, sores, or eruptions, not just clinical leprosy as we know it today.
But as we can imagine, this was a terrible illness. The Jews saw this disease as a curse from God. Therefore, only God could heal people suffering from this affliction.
Let’s imagine this for a second or two. Imagine how these people must have felt like. I am sure that their hearts were completely full of sorrow having been banished from society and particularly from their families.
b. Our affliction
I don’t think any of us here have leprosy…
We may not have had leprosy of the skin, but we’ve had leprosy of the soul.
Physically speaking, lepers were regarded as outcasts – away from blessings, love, and acceptance.
Spiritually speaking, the same was true of us in the eyes of God apart from Jesus…
· It started in Eden:
So [God] drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:24)
· It continues to this day:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… (Rom 3:23)
· Listen to the words of Scripture:
Remember that you [who are now Christians] were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Eph 2:12)
We were afflicted with the disease of leprosy of the soul… the condemnation of sin.
· Jesus is looking for people who acknowledge their affliction for what it is. Have you come to terms with the gravity of sin’s affliction?
2. We have a common Need (v. 13)
a. The lepers’ need - “they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
The ten lepers understood that the only way they were ever going to find healing from their affliction, it would be by the mercy of Jesus.