Jesus is the Son of Man
The Ten Lepers
All right! Let’s go ahead and grab your Bibles and turn to Luke chapter 17. As always, if you do not have a Bible, or if you have need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we can get one into your hands.
Jesus has been teaching, and addressing his disciples, new believers and followers and the traditional church folk who were opposing him. And the reason they were opposing him is that he was teaching that it is not our actions, our obedience, or our adherence to the law that saves us.
Instead, our salvation is by faith alone. Christianity, true religion as taught by God the Father, God, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is not Do and be saved. But instead is You are Saved, Now Do.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that Jesus has prepared beforehand good works that we are to do. But that obedience and service are not pleasing to God just in and of themselves. But they are only pleasing to God if and when they are done in faith.
And now, Jesus continues on his journey. That’s where we will pick up, in Luke 17, verses 11-19. Ill, as usual, be reading out of the English Standard Version. I encourage you to grab your Bible, which ever translation it is, and follow along as we read the word of God.
Luke 17:11-19, inspired by the Holy Spirit, written by Luke the Physician:
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[f] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”[g]
May God Bless the reading of his Word.
So, we see that Jesus is once again on the move. He is still and again on the way to Jerusalem. He first set his eye upon Jerusalem as we saw back in Luke 9:51. And on this part of the trip, he was travelling between Samaria and Galilee.
Now, we have talked before about the hatred between the Jews and Samarians. Most would go out of their way and add a significant amount of time to their travel in order to avoid going through Samaria. The fact that Jesus would even travel close to it would have been scandalous.
And outside one of the villages, on this section of travel, Jesus encounters 10 lepers. The lepers were set apart, and not in the way that means Holy. They were removed from the towns and villages, placed outside them, and were not allowed near people. In fact, if they saw people that might come near them, they were to yell out a continual warning, “Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!”
You think a COVID quarantine was bad? It was nothing compared to Biblical leprosy.
So, Jesus comes along this village and these lepers are outside it and they see him and shout out to him. Master! Have mercy on us! They knew, at least in part, who he was. They, despite being removed from everyone, still had heard of this Jesus guy and what he could do.
He had already healed lepers. They knew he could heal, that he could perform miracles. They knew he was able to do things and they cried out for him to have mercy on them.
In verse 14, it says that Jesus saw them. This is a key part to this text. He actually saw them. Not saw that they were there and make sure not to get too close but saw them and who they were. Let’s not blow past this and gloss over this.
I don’t know if there is someone in here who needs to hear this, but a lot of people do. For many, this is the greatest way to show love to them, to see them. These lepers were ignored by the masses, but society. They were not acknowledged. They were not talked to. They were not helped. They were not ministered to. In the eyes and life of the people of the did, these lepers practically did not exist.
There are many groups that fall into this category today; the homeless, widows and orphans, the poor and forgotten, refugees, prisoners, abuse victims, the depressed and suicidal. So many of whom we can see very day of our lives, in pain, lonely, crying out, begging to be heard and be seen. And so many more individuals that don’t fit into these categories either.
We are to love people. We are to love them as Jesus loves them. We are to love them even if nobody else loves them. And Jesus shows us right here how to love them. He sees them. HE hears them. He acknowledges them. They are not just there, but they are people. That’s love that many people do not receive.
Jesus sees them and he responds to there cries. He tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. Why would he tell them that? They asked for mercy, hoped to be healed and he tells them to go to the priests?
The reason they would go to the priests is to show him that they were healed, and he could pronounce them clean. We see back in Leviticus 13 & 14 that God the priests the ability and the authority to confirm that the lepers were cured and to declare them clean. The priest could not heal them, he could only affirm that they were healed.
So, there was no physical reason for these lepers to go and show themselves to the priests. They were not yet healed and so there was nothing for the priests to confirm. They had to take Jesus at his word and had to show some kind of faith, some trust in Jesus in order to go and head over to the priest.
And they did. They started on their way. They showed some faith. They showed obedience. They obeyed the word of God and as they went on their way to the priest, they were healed.
As always with Jesus, this was a miraculous healing. A complete and full healing. An instantaneous healing. An event that would not and could not be missed. Its not like the lepers would not have noticed this instant and complete, all of a sudden lack of leprosy. They were still supposed to the priests so that they could be public and legally declared clean and brought back into the community.
So, we do see that all 10 lepers had to realize that they were just instantly & completely healed. Presumably, 9 of them continued on their journey to the priest. Understandably. They would have been super excited. Once the priest declared them clean, and they went through the very brief 8 day waiting period, they would be able to be reunited with family, friends, and society.
But one of the ten, one of them noticed and stopped his journey. He turned around and went back to praise and give thanks to Jesus.
10 lepers professed Jesus as Master. 10 lepers acted like they had faith. 10 lepers were healed. Now, this text is not intended to be a mathematical equation. This is not here to tell us that 9 out of 10 people are not saved. This is a story that reveals God goodness, Jesus’ goodness, general people’s ungratefulness and that it is often the unexpected who receive and respond to God’s grace.
1 of the 10 had what we call saving faith. 1 out of 10 recognized what Jesus Christ did. 1 out of 10 came back and acknowledged what he did. 1 out of 10 fell down and praised God.
Here is the scandalous part.
IT was a Samaritan.
An outsider. A mixed breed. A non-Jew. Someone who didn’t deserve gods grace and salvation. The last one who anyone would ever expect to praise and worship the true God. The unexpected who received and responded to God’s grace.
And we see this here in the text and we can also see the opposite. Granted, we are reading into the test with this next part. But another part we see here is that if 1 of these ten was a Samaritan, it is very likely that 9 of them were Jewish. They thought that they were entitled. They thought that God owed them healing. They thought that they did something to earn the healing and so there was no need to go back and thank Jesus for what he may or may not have done. Their faith was less in Jesus than it was in themselves, in their heritage, their righteousness.
This Samaritan came back, he allowed his spiritual obligation to override his ceremonial needs. He dropped down and praised God and gave thanks to Jesus. He was essentially acknowledging that Jesus was God. Jesus accepted this and asked, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Jesus was pointing out the other 9 lepers lack of true faith. Who came back and gave thanks? Who was grateful and appreciative? Only this Samaritan. He came back.
Did none who thought they deserved it?
Did none who thought they earned it?
Did none of them, not one give thanks and praise God?
Only the one who everyone thought would be rejected. Only the one who nobody thought deserved it. Only the one who nobody thought was good enough. Only the one who nobody thought was the right “kind.” Only the foreigner.
Only the one who knew that he couldn’t do it himself. Only the one who knew he couldn’t earn it. Only the one who knew he didn’t deserve it. Only the one who knew it could only be the work of a graceful and merciful God. Only He came back and praise God and gave thanks.
Jesus recognized the faith in the Samaritan, and he told him “Rise and Go, Your faith has made you well.” In the Greek it is literally, “Your faith has brought you salvation.”
Jesus is not talking only about physically healing. He was healed earlier and now he was made well. Jesus hear was referring to the man’s salvation.
What saved this man? His faith in the one who saves. He was not saved by his ethnicity, not his race, not his heritage. He was not saved by his goodness, his righteousness, or his deservedness. He was not saved by his culture, his morals, or his upbringing. He was not saved by his words, as in professing faith, by his church attendance, or his studiousness, his bible knowledge and he was not saved by his religious tradition and background.
He was saved by the grace of God alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone as revealed by the scriptures alone and all to the glory of God alone.
10 were healed, but only one was made well.
We need to remember who we are in this story. WE are all born spiritually dead. We are all spiritually lepers. We are unclean. And that uncleanness shouts loud and clear to the one who is clean and can do something about it. Jesus, Lord have mercy on us!
He is the one who can have mercy on us. He is the one who can make us well. He is the one who can heal our souls. He is the one who can makes us clean. He is the one who fulfill the demands of the law and impart his righteousness onto us. He is the one who can save our souls. And he is the only one.
And our appropriate response when we have been made clean and made well, when we have been saved is to fall at his feet to praise God and thank Jesus for his work. Our appropriate response is praise and worship and most of all gratefulness, thanksgiving.
So, I’m going to leave us with some verses regarding giving thanks to God.
1 Corinthians 15:57: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14: But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 9:15:
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks[d] to the Father, who has qualified you[e] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Let’s Pray and give thanks.