November 24th, 2002, Sunday Morning Thanksgiving Week
Forgetting to thank GOD for answered prayers and blessings
OPENING: Luke 17:11-19, KJV
INTRODUCTION: On a former occasion, Matthew and Mark related that a single leper had been cleansed by
the Lord Jesus (Matthew 8:2-3 and Mark 1:40-41). But now Jesus encounters 10 lepers
by Himself. The object of this story is to show the incredible ingratitude that characterized the
Jewish people toward God during those days.
How many second chances or answered prayers has God given you that you didn't thank Him for? Thanksgiving
should be a recurring event--not just once a year.
WE HAVE AN EARNEST REQUEST FOR HELP IN A VERY TRAGIC SITUATION
Jesus' ultimate destination is Jerusalem (Luke 9:51) but for the purpose of His ministry,
He stops at various towns along the way, teaching (Luke 13:22).
Here, His current trip is between Galilee and Samaria
This will be His last trip in this area (this matters to those who wish miracles and cures that only He
He is entering an unknown village as part of His ministry
He is approached at the gate by 10 lepers
Leviticus 13:46: BACKGROUND: LIFESTYLE OF A LEPER (for the rest of the person's life):
They are to keep a great distance between themselves and all others in the town and live outside the town
100% isolation from everyone else, no contact, no family/children/work
No invites to birthdays or Thanksgivings ... no one who can help or cure them
The world pities but wants nothing to do with them
In short, from the day they become a leper, the enjoyment of life is over and all they can look forward to is death
(Now combine that fact that one of the lepers is a Samaritan--a
person hated by the rest of the world even before becoming a leper!)
While keeping their required great distance, they make a simple request of Jesus
Luke 17:13: Rather than simply calling Jesus by His name, the lepers give honor to His
name by calling for him with "Master" (also known as "Chief"--a person in command; having authority; leader)
ASIDE: Mark 4:37-39: Jesus' disciples called Him "Master" when they were terrified the
storm was going to drown their boat and kill them all
Luke 17:13: They follow simply with, "have mercy on us."
Mercy is getting what you don't deserve ... so why would they call for mercy? Because as far as
the lepers are concerned, life is over. There is no more hope for them.
Jesus responds to their request with a simple command
Luke 17:14: "Go shew yourselves unto the priests."
Jesus' command is in accordance with Leviticus 14:2--the process of verifying leprosy was
gone. Since they still had leprosy, the lepers follow Jesus' command because they trust Him that a change is forthcoming
in their life
Luke 17:14: "And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed."
The Lord heard their request and the miracle took place enroute to the priest
Ten men were healed by the grace of God from one of the most miserable conditions in the world
The lepers asked for mercy not lightly but with meaning and sincerity--a good request to make to the Lord
Our Lord is compassionate and caring--He answers our prayers IN HIS WAY AND TIME
The lepers were given a second chance; they can now return to their families, children, work and enjoy life
Matthew 7:7: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"
THE PROPER RESPONSE TO THE GRACE OF GOD IS ALWAYS THAT OF GRATITUDE (THANKS)
KEY: One of the men immediately turns around and returns to Jesus
Luke 17:15: As he is turning back, the man loudly glorifies GOD--shouts that could be heard
by many others a good distance away
He fell at Jesus' feet and gave Him thanks. The man was humble, overwhelmed and thankful ... but why thankful?
Life had no purpose until death--suddenly he has purpose again
Mercy is given and not earned--Jesus could have ignored him
This was their last chance--Jesus was not returning to this unknown town
He could be involved with people again--never to live and sleep outside the town
STORY TWIST: The man was a Samaritan!
Here is a man who has suffered prejudices his entire life for his ethnicity and on top is this horrible
disease that isolates him from everyone for the rest of his life
However, this man shows no bitterness or resentment
Here is a man who overflows with nothing but gratefulness to the Lord Jesus
1 Thessolonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus concerning you."
Colossians 3:17: Once again, whatever you do in this world, do it in the name of Jesus and give
thanks to the Father through Jesus, the Son
KEY POINT OF THIS STORY: WHERE ARE THE OTHER NINE WHO WERE CURED?
The other nine, Jews, did not return to Jesus to thank Him for
giving them their life back
None were glorifying God for this dramatic miracle
None were falling at His feet for a gift that only a few in the world have ever had the privilege to
experience (being cured of incurable leprosy)
Not one "thank you" for allowing them to hold their wife or children again
Not one "thank you" for allowing them to re-enter life's arena for a second chance that few will ever get
Sometimes miracles of God are used to show the sinfulness of men's heart
You can have your physical health restored but it is your heart that has to be changed
(i.e., your soul saved) by the grace of GOD
These men, by their actions, demonstrated they believed they were entitled to this blessing
Note how the nine Jewish men, of God's chosen people Israel, were ungrateful because they
believed themselves entitled to this blessing (selfish) while the outcast of the world and not one of God's chosen of Israel,
a Samaritan, was the grateful one