By Rev Bill Woods
Luke 17:11-17 (NLT2)
11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.
12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance,
13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”
16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?
Thursday, November 26, is Thanksgiving Day when we focus on the matter of giving thanks.
Thanksgiving Day is a National holiday in the U.S. commemorating the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony in 1621.
The first national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by President George Washington for November 26, 1789. — President Lincoln revived the custom in 1863.
In 1941, Congress decreed Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November.
The customary turkey dinner is a reminder of the four wild turkeys served at the PILGRIMS’ first thanksgiving feast.
It’s a time when families, friends, and loved ones have always gotten together to enjoy a great Thanksgiving Feast together. – This year Government officials are trying to limit how many people can come to your Family get-togethers to celebrate this wonderful holiday. They are using the excuse of trying to control the Covid 19 pandemic.
Thanksgiving should be a way of life for Christians.
It shouldn’t happen just once a year, but should be a daily sending up of thanks to God out of a heart grateful for His blessings.
In today’s Scripture text Jesus is traveling with His disciples on the border between Galilee and Samaria Ten lepers met Him.
The Jews hated the Samaritans and had no dealing with them at all, but in this group of 10 lepers, there was at least one Samaritan.
The Samaritans were a “mixed race” contaminated by foreign blood and false worship.
Jewish historian Josephus said Samaritans were also opportunists.
When the Jews enjoyed prosperity, the Samaritans were quick to acknowledge their blood relationship, but when the Jews suffered hard times, the Samaritans disowned any such kinship, declaring they were descendants of Assyrian immigrants.
When a group of Jews, led by Zerubbabel, returned from the Babylonian Captivity, the Samaritans offered to help Zerubbabel rebuild the Temple. – When their offer was rejected, they tried to prevent the Jews from finishing their project.
Ezra 4:1-10 (NLT2)
1 The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the LORD, the God of Israel.
2 So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.”
3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us.”
4 Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work.
5 They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne.
6 Years later when Xerxes began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king.
8 Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem.
9 They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam).
10 They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River.
When Nehemiah attempted to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, he was opposed by Arabic and Samaritan groups — Nehemiah 2:10—6:14.
The breach between the Samaritans and the Jews widened even further when Ezra, in his zeal for racial purity, pressured all Israelite men who’d married during the Captivity to divorce their pagan wives — Ezra 10:18-44.
The final break between the two groups occurred when the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, claiming Shechem rather than Zion (Jerusalem) as the true Beth-el (house of God), the site traditionally chosen and blessed by the Lord.
Again, Jesus is traveling with His disciples when they come across this group of pitiful lepers who call out to Jesus for help.
There’s a beautiful picture here — though animosity existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus knew that but instead saw 10 men in need. – He was touched by their needs.
10 lepers were healed — only one returned to thank Jesus for His healing touch.
– Figure it out, only 10% came back to thank Christ for what He’d done. – Let’s not be guilty of being part of that 90% who don’t give Him the thanks and glory.
1. THE CONDITION OF THE MEN (v.22) “lepers”
– Leprosy is a type or picture of sin in a person’s life.
They Were Defiled!
The leper had to cry out, “Unclean, unclean” so others were warned of defilement.
They Were Denounced
– No one wanted anything to do with a leper.
– The lepers were an unkept people. Their bodies stank due to the putrefying sores all over their bodies and their lack of personal hygiene.
– No one was to touch them and everyone was to keep their distance from these stricken people.
We don’t know how much distance had to be between the leper and healthy people.
– One authority said, if the leper was windward of a healthy person, he was to stand at least 50 yards away.
The lepers lived in isolation — it was felt leprosy was a highly communicable disease.
The leper had to wear “mourning” clothes, leave his hair unkept, keep his beard covered, and cry, “Unclean, unclean” to warn folks.
He had to make it clear that everyone was to avoid him. – He was an outcast as long as he lived.
They Were Denied
A leper wasn’t allowed to join in public worship because he was defiled and might infect others. – A person’s sins must be forgiven before he or she can truly worship God.
2. NOTICE THEIR MISERABLE CRY (V.13)
– “Jesus, Master have mercy on us.”They were Desperate — no one else could help them.
They were crying out for mercy
Jesus was their only hope for healing
3. CHRIST’S COMPASSION (14a)
– They didn’t know when Jesus spoke — Luke 17:14, it would bring their healing.
They were healed as they went — when they obeyed Jesus instructions they were cleansed! – Jesus healed them! — He was moved by their plight and by their faith.
4. THE CLEANSING OF THE MARKED ONES — Luke 17:14b
– “They were cleansed.” Only Jesus can make the leper (the sinner) clean.
– Faith was part of- If they hadn’t obeyed it wouldn’t have happened………
Christ brought about their healing because they did as He directed.
5. Only one was grateful enough to come back and thank Jesus — Luke 17:15, 16
Jesus said in Luke 17:18, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save the stranger.”
Faith made them whole; however, that faith was anchored in the person of Jesus Christ.
At the age of seven, a young boy and his family were forced out of their home, and the boy was forced to go to work.
When he was nine, his mother died.
He had a job as a store clerk, but lost it when he was twenty.
The young man wanted to go to law school, but had no education.
He went into debt when he was twenty-three, to become a partner in a small store.
Three years later his business partner died, and left him with a debt that took years to repay.
He dated a girl for four years and, at the age of twenty-eight he asked her to marry him.
She turned him down.
At thirty-seven, he was elected to Congress…on his THIRD try. – He then failed to be re-elected.
This man’s son died when the baby was only four years old.
At age forty-five, he ran for the Senate…and failed to be elected.
He persisted at politics and ran for Vice-Presidency at age forty-seven, and lost.
Finally, at fifty-one, he was elected President of the United States.
His name was Abraham Lincoln.
And then, President Lincoln did a very unusual thing.
In the midst of the darkest day in American history, in the midst of the Civil War which claimed more American lives than any other war, in the midst of great trial and tragedy, President Lincoln issued the following proclamation:
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
Abraham Lincoln had a grateful heart. He knew, that even in the midst of great tribulation and hardship, there was much to be thankful for.
He took the time to express his gratitude to God, and invited the American people to join him in giving thanks to the Holy One.
May faith express itself in our lives through gratitude and thanksgiving unto God.
PODCAST: WHERE ARE THE THANKFUL?