Christ the Healer: The Ten Lepers

Christ the Healer: The Ten Lepers

Christ the Healer: Ten Lepers.

Please read Luke 17:11-19.

  1. On the Way to Jerusalem. Jesus knew very well what awaited Him in Jerusalem: torture, death, and eventual resurrection. He predicted this several times (Matthew 20Mark 10, and a little later here in Luke 18). Yet He traveled toward Jerusalem, making steady progress southward as He walked from Galilee in the north country. And all along on this fateful journey, He healed and taught and preached. He was not distracted by what lay ahead. He was constantly interrupted during this long walk, but it didn’t matter. Jesus consistently thought of others, looking after their needs. Jesus kept healing people on the way to death. What does that tell you about Him, about His character? What would you do if you were on this journey? What are the various ways one could handle this situation?
  2. Going Through Samaria. Jews hated Samaritans. Most Jews would walk around Samaria to get to Jerusalem, going a long way around, rather than walk through Samaria. As an ethnic group, Samaritans were considered half-breeds, a mixed race with heathen people, and not pure-bred descendants of Abraham like the Jews. Samaritans were considered unclean and rejected by all good Jews, except Jesus. He had no problem walking right through the middle of Samaria. He loved everybody, and didn’t consider anyone untouchable. Jesus, the equal opportunity savior and healer. Is there any group of people you avoid? Any part of the city or country that you wouldn’t want to go near, because the people there are “unclean” or beneath you in some way? Are there any untouchables around you that still need Jesus?
  3. Ten Lepers. Leprosy was a general term used for any skin disease, many of which were contagious and none were curable. The lepers were considered unclean, were not to associate with the clean people, and had to stay at a distance at all times. Lepers had to announce their presence to warn others that they were in the area. Have you ever had a skin condition that was noticeable to others? How did other people treat you? How do you think a leper would feel? Have you ever felt like that?
  4. Mercy! The lepers shouted “Have Mercy!”, and Jesus saw a red stop light on the road. Nothing can stop Jesus in His tracks more effectively than to ask for mercy. Jesus loves to show mercy. He will look for any excuse in the world to show someone mercy. It’s in His DNA, it’s a part of His changeless character. So when the lepers shouted those momentous words, Jesus stopped and looked. Have you ever been so down and out that you didn’t know what to pray, didn’t even know how to approach Jesus? Just two small words will always get Jesus’ attention… Have Mercy.
  5. Healing. Jesus didn’t have to touch them, He didn’t have to anoint them, He didn’t have to shout “Be healed!” He didn’t have to do anything but look at them and think those divine words of healing. He simply healed the lepers when He looked at them and thought about it as they obeyed His instructions. Miracles don’t have to be dramatic or theatrical, and in fact are often quiet and go unnoticed. God is humble that way, and doesn’t necessarily bask in attention. Has God ever done something meaningful in your life in a quiet way?
  6. Faith. According to Jewish law, all people who have leprosy but are in remission need to go to the priests in the Temple. They will confirm that the lepers are healed and declare them ritually clean. The lepers can then live and work in the general populace and go to worship in the Temple. All the lepers in this case had a mustard seed of faith, for they all obeyed Jesus at His word and stated walking to see the priests. And, miraculously, they were all healed as they went. Do you ever move in faith before God has done something, before something even happens? How would you define faith?
  7. Ungrateful. The nine lepers were healed, but they were not thankful to Jesus for their healing. Their faith didn’t extend to gratitude. That’s unfortunate for them, for now they won’t understand anything deeper about God’s grace. They will not know the joy of pleasing God with their thankfulness. They will not know the satisfaction of having the healing lead to a relationship with Jesus. It’s interesting that God didn’t demand gratitude from the lepers. He was surely pleased with the one who did show thankfulness, though, and He certainly was saddened by the attitude of the other nine. God wants the “thank you” to come from the heart, and not from obligation. Have you ever been forced to say “thank you?” Was it sincere? How can we grow in giving thanks from the heart?
  8. Grace. Jesus shows love to everybody, even to lepers and Samaritans. He even does miracles for the ungrateful. Have you ever done someone a big favor, and you never even got a “thank you” in return? How did that make you feel? Is that what Jesus felt when nine healed lepers seem to forget about how they got healed in the first place? Jesus continues to show love to the ungrateful. What character quality is that?
  9. Samaritan. Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? Well, here’s another good Samaritan. Remember, he was considered an enemy of the Jewish people and religion. In  other words, a Samaritan was considered the least likely person to do the right thing. Have you ever judged someone and then seen that someone do a good thing? Did that change your opinion of that person? And then this Samaritan made quite a scene… He shouted praises in pure gratitude, and then he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet. What does that tell you about this healed leper? Would you be willing to do that?
  10. Gratitude. Only 1 out of 10 healed lepers returned to give thanks to Jesus for the miracle that totally turned their lives around for the better. That’s 10%. What percentage of people in the world give thanks to God for His blessings? Why are His blessings so easily taken for granted, overlooked, or forgotten? How can we develop a thankful heart as a part of our lifestyle? We can do no better than to memorize Psalm 107:1 and repeat it every morning and every night: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever!”
  11. Faith. There is a mystery here. Sometimes Jesus said “Your faith has made you well.” Other times, He healed people who didn’t appear to have any faith at all. How are we supposed to understand that? Is God’s love that blind? Can we ever reach the bottom of God’s reservoir of love?
  12. Big Question. What did we learn about Jesus in this story?