There is a saying that, “Men are too busy asking so many things from God, but few gave Him thanks after receiving what they asked for!” This saying is quite true even in our today’s living. People seem to bother themselves to much with so many petitions, but few give Him thanks.
Today, we are going to look at the personalities of the people in the passage that we have read a while ago. We would look at the life of Jesus, the Samaritan and the 9 other lepers.
Let me just give you a brief background of the chapter that we have read. In verses 1-4, after Jesus had some particular discourses which He had with His disciples, in which he teaches them to take heed of giving offense, and to forgive the injuries done to them, He encourages them to pray for the increase of their faith in vv.5-6, and then teaches them humility in whatever service they had done for God. Now in vv. 7-10, He was on His way to Jerusalem.
He went from Galilee, and probably traveled through the chief villages and towns in it and then left it; Samaria was situated between Galilee and Jerusalem. And as He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. The first character that we would like to know today is Jesus…we are going to see:
1. THE ABOUNDING MERCY OF JESUS.
Leprosy in Greek is “lepros” from the root word “lepra.” This is a kind of skin disease that has at least six symptoms.
- Lepers were to rend their garments, let the hair and their head hang down disheveled, covering themselves up to the upper lip, like mourners, and warn off every one whom they happened to meet by shouting “Unclean, unclean!” since they would defile everyone and everything they touched.
- For this reason they were also obliged to live in exclusion outside the camp, city or village. That is why they were outside, not inside the village where Jesus was about to enter. “The very entrance of a leper into a house, according to Jewish cannons, renders everything in it unclean.”
- If he stands under a tree and a clean man passes by, he renders him unclean
- In the synagogue which he wishes to attend, they are obliged to make him a separate compartment, ten handbreadths high and four cubits long and broad; he has to be the first to go in and the last to leave the synagogue.
- There is a prescribed distance for them not make anybody unclean. That’s the reason why they have not approached Jesus closely because if they transgressed the prescribed boundaries they were to receive forty stripes.
- The Jews regarded a leper as “living dead.”
Now, standing from a distance, they called out to Jesus in a loud voice. Their request was unanimous, and very importunate. There’s a great possibility that they have heard the fame of Jesus though He had not been conversant in the village, that’s why they lifted up their voices, being at a distance, and cried, “Jesus, Master – they added, “Have mercy on us!”
What happened next? In verse 14 Jesus told them, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” The reason why Jesus ordered them to go to the priests is for the priest to give them certificates that they are already clean. The priest would inspect them thoroughly and if they were found clean and had done the offerings and sacrifices required in the Mosaic Law, they can again live and mingle with the society.
Like what I already said, nobody, not a single person would care for them, nor talk to them for fear of being sent away from their village for being unclean. They believe that they could find mercy from Jesus, and they have never been wrong. Fatigue from the long journey He have had, Jesus as weary as he was; and yet did not put them off, nor adjourn their cause, instead heeded their cry.
This scene proves that Jesus is truly abounding in mercy. Not only He stopped to listen to the cry of the lepers but He made them whole.
And what does this mean to us? It means that this Jesus that I’m preaching and declaring to you is the God who is so merciful…You can call on Him at anytime, at any situation you have, in all circumstances that you’re facing right now. He’s never been busy, nor tired, nor pre-occupied of many things, He always have time for you, to answer your prayers, to heal you from all your diseases and to unload you from all your burdens. (Illustration of Pajotan and Black Nazarene). YOU DON’T HAVE TO BEAT YOURSELF, TO MAKE YOURSELF SUFFER, TO WALK ON YOUR KNEES TO GO TO AN ALTAR AND TO ASK FOR MERCY…YOU DON’T HAVE TO OFFER TO HIM ANY MATERIAL THING TO WIN HIS FAVOR OR FOR HIS HANDS TO TOUCH YOU! ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS TO CALL UPON HIM! CALL UPON JESUS! JESUS, MASTER, HAVE MERCY ON ME! I am so grateful this morning that where the law says man cannot go, Jesus goes. What the law declares off limits, Jesus barges in! When the law passes on the other side, Jesus makes it a point to make contact! When the law says you can’t do it, with Jesus we can do all things! When people say that it’s impossible, with Jesus all things are possible! OH BROTHERS AND SISTERS I WANT TO DECLARE TO YOU THAT YOUR JESUS, MY JESUS, OUR JESUS IS A LOVING GOD THAT IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE FOR YOU AND FOR ME!
In the spiritual sense, if you’re leprous or sinful and may have committed sins of many kinds, of higher degree or of any rate, and that nobody would like to be associated with you, citing you as unclean or pain of the society, you can find mercy and acceptance in Jesus. The Word of God declares, “As far is the heavens are above the earth so great is His love, and as far is the east is from the west, so far has he taken our sins from us!” Oh listen, Jesus came to save sinners. Jesus is able to reach us and to save us. My family can’t save me, my friends can’t save me, the church can’t save me, but Jesus can!
It’s not an accident that you’re here and hearing these words, Jesus would like you to experience His mercy in your life. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior, just call on Him right now because in Jesus, grace overflows beyond you can event think or imagine. Hallelujah!
The second person that we’re going to talk about is the Samaritan.
2. THE GRATEFULNESS OF THE SAMARITAN
In verse 15, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back.” Let’s stop there for a while.
This man, sensible of the power of God and grateful for His mercies, returned to express his gratitude to Jesus. When he saw that he was healed, he was made whole, instead of going forward to the priest, to be declared clean and to be discharged from his confinement, which was all that the rest aimed at, he turned back towards Jesus who was the author of his cure, to give thanks to Jesus before he would enjoy all of the benefits of his healing!
There is no evidence, however, that he did not, “after” he had given thanks to Jesus, and had poured out his joy at His feet, go to the priest as he was directed; indeed, he could not have been restored to society without doing it. But I would like you to notice with me that the first thing he did is that he poured out his thanks to Jesus…Giving Him praise for his miraculous recovery.
It was also written that he was praising God, not in a soft voice, or not in a whispering tone, but with a loud voice…loud voice! Wow! That’s great! Remember that when the 10 lepers called upon Jesus outside the village, they raised their voices, the Greek word applied in raised is “airo” which means to simply lift up. But after the Samaritan leper was healed the Greek word used describing how loud was his voice is “megas;” which means exceedingly loud, mighty or strong! IT MEANS THAT WHEN HE RETURNED TO CHRIST TO GIVE HIM THANKS HE WAS PRAISING WITH A VERY STRONG VOICE, MUCH, MUCH GREATER THAN WHEN HE ASKED FOR MERCY!
Verse 16 would tell us that he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. This is how grateful was the leper. He thanked Jesus from what Jesus had done to him. LONG WERE THE DAYS AND YEARS THAT HE WAITED FOR THE TIME OF HIS RETURN TO HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND LOVE ONES, TO BE DECLARED CLEAN…BUT FOR HIM HIS PRIORITY AFTER RECEIVING HIS MIRACLE IS TO GIVE THANKS TO JESUS!
Brothers and sisters, we too must learn to thank God for all the blessings that we have received from Him. We must be grateful! Grateful to Him for all the answered prayers, for the healing for all His provisions. With a loud voice we cry and pray, with a louder voice we must give Him praise and thanks for the answers. Before we enjoy the benefits of the blessings that we received, give Him praise and thanks first! Amen! ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS “THE GIVER IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE GIFT!” Why? The gift or the blessing after you received it, it will soon be gone…but the Giver, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that He never changes, He is the same, yesterday, today and forever…There is no end to His power…His mercy and grace are inconsumable, His love is from everlasting to everlasting!
But you and I should not just thank God for all the good things in life. The Bible tells us that “In everything give thanks!” We must give thanks in all circumstances. Listen to this brothers and sisters, whatever happens, you can always find something for which you can give God thanks!
Matthew Henry was an early American preacher and most pastors have a copy of his commentary on the Bible. Once, while travelling to preach, Matthew Henry was robbed. Now most people wouldn’t think that would be a circumstance in which you could give thanks, but he did. He wrote: “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before…Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
You and I ought to try that. If you are going through a time of pain and difficulty, why don’t you try to find at least five things about your situation for which you can thank God! I’ve often wondered as I read about this healing of the ten lepers as if Jesus was trying to tell us that about 90% of us don’t thank God enough. Let us not be a thankful crowd…(Personal Testimony…car not starting and Lei having a severe sprain.) EVEN IN THE MOST NEGATIVE SITUATIONS WE’RE FACING, GOD’S HANDS IS ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU AND FOR ME…YOU JUST NEED TO TRUST HIM AND CHOOSE TO BE THANKFUL NO MATTER WHAT LIFE MIGHT BRING!
Kindly tell to the person next to you, “We should be more grateful!”
3. THE INGRATITUDE OF THE OTHER 9 LEPERS
Unlike the Samaritan, the other 9 lepers didn’t bother themselves to come back to Jesus and give Him thanks. That’s why in verse 17, Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” It’s not that Jesus seeks for their gratitude but these were spoken to intimate that ingratitude is a very common sin. When we are unthankful it grieves the Lord. Of the many that receive mercy from God, there are but few, very few, returns to give thanks in a right manner, scarcely one in ten. Someone said, ““We have it so good. We enjoy it so much. We express it so little.”
It was never written that the other 9 came back and thanked Jesus after being healed and after presenting themselves to the priest, never! Remember that these men called out to Jesus with their loud voices, but their loud voices were never heard after receiving mercy. FOR THESE 9 MEN, IT REALLY EXCITES THEM TO ONCE AGAIN BE ACCEPTED BY THE COMMUNITY, TO BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES AGAIN, TO CHAT WITH FRIENDS AND TO AGAIN LIVE A NORMAL LIFE…BUT THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN SO EXCITED TO GIVE THANKS TO JESUS!
There was a story of a woman whose son was got caught in a fierce tornado that swept through their tiny town in Texas. She grabbed hold of a tree for dear life, but in the process her son was taken up in the wind and blown into the air, and she lost sight of him. She cried out to God, “Lord, if You’ll just bring my son back to me, I’ll follow you…I’ll obey you with all my heart…I will keep my eyes on You for the rest of my life…I promise!
Immediately, the boy was dropped right in front of her. The wind stopped and set him down on the ground without a scratch. The woman looked at her son, then to heaven, and said, “Lord, he had a hat!”
Instead of giving thanks to God for bringing her son back, alive, without a scratch, she looked for the hat!
Illustration: (The story is told of two old friends who bumped into one another on the street one day…Tom and Tim…)
We are sometimes like the other 9 lepers, the woman and Tom. The problem with us we pray loud and really cry out to God whenever we ask Him of His mercy, guidance or even healing in our lives, but after we have received what we’ve been praying for, we tend to neglect something…we always have this tendency to neglect thanking Him…We profess that we are Christians but we cannot even thank Christ for the blessings we are receiving. WHEN WE ARE ASKING SOMETHING FROM GOD, WE SHOUT SO LOUD (expound)…BUT WHEN WE ALREADY RECEIVED IT…WE GIVE THANKS SILENTLY…WHISPERING, “HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD…” When the pastor shouted, “Let’s all come to Jesus for healing…” You can hear everyone really praying…but when the pastor or the worship leader say, “Let’s give thanks to God…” Oh boy, not even a cockroach can hear it…
Forgive me for using this strong word, “HUWAG KANG INGRATO O INGRATA…Always remember that you and I have never received any blessing, healing or success, because we are good, because we are wise or having lots of money, the very reason why we are being blessed is because of Jesus…EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE, EVERY SUCCESS THAT WE’RE ACHIEVING…EVERYTHING, LITERALLY EVERYTHING, IS NOT ABOUT US…BUT IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS! And He deserves our best thanksgiving, our worship, our best praises!
An author once said, “Gratitude should be a continuous attitude, not just an occasional incident!” For a Child of God, thankfulness is not confined to a day or reason, it is an attitude that we should have everyday and every hour.