I. THE SETTING.
A. As Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, He was passing on the borders of Galilee and Samaria.
1. As He was entering a certain village He was met by ten men who were lepers, who stood a distance from Him.
a. Recognizing Jesus they called unto Him saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."
b. Jesus called back to them to go show themselves to the priest.
2. This is the first requirement of the leper in order that he might return to the community.
a. The priest had to inspect the skin to determine if the leprosy was truly gone.
b. There were then certain prescribed sacrifices that had to be made.
c. They had to perform certain rituals such as shaving off all their hair, and ceremonial bathings.
d. After this, they could then return to their tent within the camp.
3. In Levicitus 13, and 14 we have the laws that dealt with the plague of leprosy.
a. In 14:2 we have these strange words, "This is the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing."
b. I say strange words because leprosy is incurrable outside of divine intervention.
c. Because God is gracious and merciful He left the door open for Himself to work and do that which was impossible by human standards.
d. I love that, it may be that God wants to do something that is impossible so He left the door open to do so.
e. Some of you may be facing situations that seem to you to be impossible.
a. Isn't it interesting how that we carry our human limitations over to God, and because it is difficult for us we somehow think that it is difficult for God, or if it impossible for us, then we are certain that it is impossible for God.
b. To Jeremiah God said, "I am God, is anything too hard for Me?"
c. Jesus said, "With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
4. These 10 men were calling to Jesus for mercy.
a. Matthew tells us in chapter 8 that as Jesus was coming down from the mountain where He had just delivered what is known as the sermon on the mount, there was a man with leprosy who came to Him and said, "Master, if you will you can make me clean." Jesus reached His out His hand and touched him and said, "I will, be clean." Matthew tells us that immediately his leprosy was cleansed, and Jesus told the man to go show himself to the priest.
b. Note the differences, in Matthew's gospel Jesus touched the man and he was cleansed and Jesus told him to show himself to the priest.
c. Here Jesus did not touch the men but called to them to go show themselves to the priest, and as they went they were healed.
d. One of the great dangers that we have is that of trying to put God in a box, often the boxes that we have made ourselves.
e. We try to reduce the workings of God to a formula.
f. This is the way that God moved in the fifty's and we get locked into a ritual.
g. Times change, and so often the church fails to change with the times and we find ourselves locked into methods that were successful 50 years ago but are totally irrelevant today.
h. This is one of the reasons that new denominations are continually being born as the old ones slowly die away.
II. THE RETURN OF THE ONE.
A. One of the ten who were on the way to the priest, when he saw that he was cleansed came back to Jesus and with a loud voice he began to glorify God and fell on his face at the feet of Jesus giving thanks to Jesus for what He had done in cleansing him.
1. There should be nothing unusual about this, for this is the the proper thing to do.
2. After all, if you are slowly dying of this lothesome disease and you call on someone to help you knowing how desperate your condition is, you would think that when you saw that you were healed, you would want to express your gratitude to that person.
3. It is amazing how many people receive so much from God with never a thought of thanking Him, or acknowledging Him.
a. I think of Belshazzar who was given the throne of his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, he knew what God had done to and for his grandfather, yet he deliberately showed his disdain for God by drinking wine out of the holy vessels taken from the temple by his grandfather, while he praised the gods of gold and silver.
b. Daniel rebuked him saying that he praised the gods made of gold and silver, yet the God in whose hand his very breath was, he had not glorified.
c. People are willing to thank their lucky stars, but would be put upon if they were asked to give thanks to God.
B. Jesus then asked, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?"
1. I wonder how many times we might be among the nine.
a. How many times we take the blessings of God, or the work of God in our lives for granted.
b. How many times we have had close calls while driving, so close that we wonder ourselves how we missed being another freeway casualty. We then complimented our driving skills and give no thought to the protective hand of God.
c. We are sure enough ready to blame Him if we do crash. We ask, "Why did God allow me to get in this crash?"
d. Beautiful days like this are not considered as acts of God, but let an earthquake strike destroying buildings and freeways, or let a tornado touch down and destroy everything in its fierce swath, and it is termed and act of God.
2. Paul wrote the Thessalonians, "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you."
3. In the Psalm we read this morning the reoccurring theme was "O that men would praise the Lord for His wonderful goodness."
4. In Romans chapter one Paul tells us that the wrath of God is going to be revealed from heaven against the unrighteousness of man, for when they knew God they glorified Him not as God neither were they thankful.
C. Jesus said to the man that returned to give thanks, "Arise, go your way, your faith has made you whole."
1. We are told concerning the other nine, that they were healed, this man who worshipped Jesus and gave thanks was made whole.
2. What did Jesus mean, he was made whole?
3. The others were touched by Jesus only in a physical way, they were healed of their leprosy.
4. This man was touched by Jesus not only physically, but spiritually.
a. Being made whole was a spiritual issue. His was not only an outward cleansing of the skin blotches that were rotting away his flesh, but an inward cleansing from the blotch of sin that had rotted away his spirit, and had alienated him from God.
b. The others cleansed from their leprosy should they have died in their sin, though their short lives on this earth may have been made more pleasant, that does not mean much to them now.
c. Jesus asked, "What should it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
D. The main issue today is, are you a whole person? We have all experienced the blessings of God on the physical plane. Have you worshipped Jesus and given thanks to Him and been thus cleansed spiritually?
E. Are you like the one, or like the nine?