11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
- Jesus was going through the midst of Samaria AND Galilee. It was the border between the 2 countries. You will see on the map that Samaria and Galilee are neighbours. So Jesus was walking just at the border between these 2 countries.
This is where this encounter would take place.
- Luke 17:12-13
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
- Remember this village is right at the border between Samaria and Galilee. This is where we meet this group of 10 lepers.
- It can’t have been in the village that the lepers were there because they were outcasts, they were unclean. They couldn’t live amongst those that were clean because leprosy was contagious.
- So as Jesus was in the village, they were probably standing afar off because they couldn’t come close at all.
What does it mean to us today that these people were standing afar off?
- Ephesians 2:12-13
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
- They represent those that are lost, those that are living in sin. They have not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. They don’t dare come near to Jesus, to come near to the church. They are wanting to be healed, but they are probably scared to come to church.
They were asking for mercy, they were asking for healing. They already recognized Jesus as their Master, their healer! They had probably heard of His great work of miracles in healing other lepers and doing many wonderful miracles. So they were lifting up their voices.
What does that represent today?
- They were praying! The cry of the suffering always comes up before God. And when they cry out to Him, He always hears.
- It’s a prayer for healing, a prayer of repentance and forgiveness.
Jesus hears their cry. So what does Jesus ask them to do?
- Luke 17:14
And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
- So interesting. Why did Jesus ask them to go and show themselves to the priests? It was required by law. In the Old Testament, the priests were the ones who were to examine the people to determine whether they were clean or not. Not just in regards to leprosy, but pretty much every disease. They were the ones who would give the final verdict as to whether they could come back into the camp and associate themselves with other people again.
- In Leviticus 14, the whole chapter talks about it. We will just read 2 verses.
- Leviticus 14:2-3
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
- The priest would be the one that would judge and declare if the person was clean or still unclean. He had the final say.
- Leviticus 14:2-3
- In the New Testament, this was still the practice.
- Mark 1:44
And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
- Mark 1:44
- Jesus even followed the laws that were written out by Moses for it was given by Him! He was not opposed to the laws of Moses when He was alive on the earth.
What does going to the priest represent today?
- Jesus connects the sinner with the church. Not that the church has any power to cleanse a person. The healing virtue is all found in Christ. And not that even the church has power to determine whether a person is clean from their sin or not. But this shows the high regard that Jesus has for His church.
- We cannot underestimate the importance of the church. Not just for fellowship with others of the same belief, but also for the point of reclaiming the sinner. The support that is needed also to help them to remain faithful to God. The support that is needed to feed the sinner the word of God and teach them about God’s love!
So the lepers take off and start running towards the temple. What happens as they are going?
- The Bible says that they are healed! The word of God healed them! Their faith healed them! Not because they went that they were healed. There was no virtue in their action. But it shows also that there is a part for us to play in our healing. There must be an element of faith and belief in the words of Jesus if we want to be made whole.
- We are saved by faith through grace! And the men, when they turned around to start going, it showed their faith in Jesus’ words. The believed what He was saying.
- They could have looked down and looked at their bodies and thought to themselves – what’s the point of going? I am full of leprosy! I already know what the priest will say because it is so clear that I am still a leper! They could have doubted the words of Christ because had they stood there, they would never have been healed!
- There needs to be evidence of our faith as well. The belief that Jesus asks for, it is not just a confession or an acknowledgement of what we hear. He expects action.
- The blind man was commanded to go and wash in the pool after Jesus puts clay on his eyes – he went. In the process of washing, he was healed and not a moment before that.
- The woman believed and reached out and touched Jesus – she was healed! Had she never reached out, she would not have been healed.
- Peter heard the words of Jesus to come to Him in the storm, so he stepped out of the boat. Only as he stepped out was he able to walk on water!
- Our faith requires action. Just saying OK, OK – is not enough. What does your faith lead you to do? There must be evidence of our faith. There must be evidence of our love for Christ. Remember though, we are not healed and made whole by that action, there must be application.
- Philippians 2:12-13
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
- This is Salvation by cooperation. When faith springs up in our heart, it begins to bear fruit immediately.
- Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
- We are created unto good works! Faith and works must go together.
- James 2:17
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
- True faith has works! There must be evidence of our faith! When faith is planted in our hearts, it will spring up into action. It cannot keep silent. It will bear fruit.
And so remember, these men, they heard the words of Jesus – a command for them to go and show themselves to the priests. They turned around and set their face to the temple and started running. And as they were running they were healed! Had they stood they would definitely not have been healed. It was in the process of going that they were healed.
But as they are running towards the priest to be confirmed in their healing, they are healed. And as they discover this, what happens?
- Luke 17:15-16
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
- Interesting that it mentions that he was a Samaritan. The others must have been Jews
- Why would Jesus ask them to show themselves to the priest right? Why would they have run off so eagerly if they were all Samaritans? It wouldn’t have made sense for them to go there. The priest wouldn’t even entertain their presence if they were not Jews.
- Yet it is this Samaritan that recognizes that they are healed Well actually, they all probably would have recognized that. All of a sudden no more pain. All of a sudden the air brushing against the fresh wound doesn’t feel painful anymore. And if they didn’t know they were healed then, when they reached the priest, they all certainly would have known.
- But the Samaritan sees he is healed and is the only one that turns around and gives thanks and praises Jesus!
- Could it be that non-Christian’s are more grateful to God for the gifts rendered than are actual Christian’s? Have we gotten used to living in God’s presence that we don’t recognize that every breath we take is a gift from God? Have we taken for-granted the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. We’ve gotten used to a routine in our lives in waking up at a certain time that we fail to understand that it is God that keeps our hearts beating and allows us to wake up!
- James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
- The fact that you are healthy and don’t have a body full of disease is a testament to the fact that God is good! What are your praises? It is so important to give praises! It is so important to recognize the God of the universe who loves us so much and blesses us with so many good things in our lives.
- If we learnt to praise God on a regular basis, or even write out your praises, we would never turn our backs on Him. It’s just like a man who everyday looks for 5 things to praise about his wife – he would never commit adultery against her, he would always ever love her and probably grow in love for her everyday! As he keeps the thoughts of her and her goodness to him ever foremost in his mind, it would change his marriage.
- And if we would do that with God, it would change our relationship with God as well! We would ever be conscious that He is by our side guiding us, protecting us, blessing us.
- So it’s important to give a praise. Please share a praise if you haven’t yet.
- What’s the opposite to giving thanks? It’s murmuring and complaining. If the Israelites had kept before them the miracle of the red sea, or gave thanks everyday for the manna that fell to the ground, they would have ceased their murmuring and complaining. These were big miracles! But they soon forgot!
- We must learn to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving. If it must be cultivated because it doesn’t come naturally. And if we did that, you know what we are doing? We’re actually sharing the gospel! The good news! But now, the gospel has become personal to each of us. We are sharing about how great a God that we serve and how He has blessed us so mcuh!
- Is it any wonder that the gospel suffers? Have we become so insular and focused on self, and self-pity, that as we forget to praise God for everything that He has blessed us with, and as a result we have also no desire to serve Him because we don’t see anything that we can get out of it?
- It’s because we’ve become ungrateful. If God’s mercies are new every morning, then our praises should be new every morning as well!
The Samaritan, he recognized the blessing of God and came back to give glory to Jesus.
- Luke 17:17-19
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
- Even Jesus asked – where are the other 9? It’s not as if being healed from leprosy is a small thing. They had been outcasts for so long and now Christ has just given them their lives back! He gave them a second lease on life! Yet only 1 came back to say thank you. Only 1 came back to praise God. And he wasn’t even a Jew, he was a Samaritan, a non-believer.
I believe that for the sake of that 1 leper, for the sake of that Samaritan, Jesus cleansed all ten! The faith of that one man healed everyone else!
So it is with our faith. It overflows in blessings to other people. It was not that the others had no faith, but it seems that Christ ties faith to praising God.
So what do you have to be thankful for today? Let’s meditate on God’s goodness towards each of us personally. Let’s see how He has blessed each of us personally because that really is very much a revelation of our faith in Him and His goodness. May God remind each of us of His goodness today!