Untitled Sermon (2)
Such a horrible sight! Such a horrible sight was the community of lepers! A group of people who suffered severely. What a disgusting skin disease. The discoloration of sore spots covering them from head to toe. The deterioration of their foreheads, cheeks, forearms, legs, toes; sometimes so bad that raw flesh would be showing and the hair follicles would turn white. Blisters and boils bursting open. The constant itching, with no oil, ointment, or aloe to cure the scratching. Such a horrible smell! Such a horrible smell was the community of lepers! With raw flesh exposed, so many boils and blisters, that the infectious pus would create a strong stench in the air that anyone walking by them might gag. Such a horrible sound! Such a horrible sound was the community of lepers! The disease was capable of spreading throughout the body, affecting ones throat and vocal chords that it would make their voices raspy like having a severe cold. And if you got too close, within 100 feet, you would hear raspy voices struggling to yell out “Unclean! Unclean! Unclean!” What great poverty! Since they were banned from normal society, they were unable to work any common job to make enough money to provide for daily necessities. They lived alone or lived with and depended on other lepers. They would sometimes stay near a town, hoping people we would notice and leave them charitable gifts. They were like zombies, the walking dead because if anyone touched them, it was the next worse thing to touching a dead person. It was a miserable life. Estranged from family, past friends, classmates. Even their house and car had to be quarantined if it had gotten infected. This was the case for 10 men living on the border between Galilee and Samaria. With everybody in this region talking about Jesus, there’s no doubt they had heard about his healing power. But their condition crippled their courage to search for him. Leprosy was horrible!!
Because if anyone touched them, it was the next worse thing to touching a dead person. It was a miserable life. Estranged from family, past friends, classmates. Even their house and car had to be quarantined if it had gotten infected. This was the case for 10 men living on the border between Galilee and Samaria. With everybody in this region talking about Jesus, there’s no doubt they had heard about his healing power. But their condition crippled their courage to search for him. Leprosy was horrible!!
Application: Although leprosy is a physical disease, it shows us how sin operates spiritually. For your reference, read and 14. 4 characteristics of leprosy that are like sin: it’s deeper than the flesh; it spreads and defiles; it causes pain; it’s incurable by humans; it’s isolating. I personally know there have been some evils in my life that are just like leprosy. I’m talking about some evil and wicked stuff that came from the depths of my heart. See the behavior is just a symptom or manifestation of the inner issue, just like the white spots and bumps of leprosy are symptoms of something inside. Then, I can remember the first time certain desires arose in my heart, and from there they spread and defiled so many areas in my life. And not only have a I cause myself pain, but because of some sins in my life I’ve inflicted pain on others. No matter what 5 step method I tried to stop, that diseased desire didn’t go away and the symptoms popped up again!! And because of some of my hearts sicknesses, I’ve felt isolated from people at times. Not always because they’re staying away from me, but I’d rather not be around them because of my shame. But I’d feel more comfortable around those who have the same habits.
But one day, by the providence and compassion of GOD, here came Jesus. They were miserable, ashamed, and discouraged. But seeing him coming, they began alerting one another, and helping one another up to approach him. But knowing it was illegal and shameful to get to close, they kept their distance. Then they mustered up enough courage and strength to call on his name as loud as they could. Forgetting the list of requests they could make, all they yell out one after another and in unison “Have mercy on us!”
Application: Not only did our sins isolate us from people, it also isolated us from GOD. I’ve had times that I feel so distant from GOD because of my sins. I couldn’t even pray. But when I finally gained enough courage to call on him, I didn’t know how to communicate the specifics of my situation. But thank GOD Paul says in that the Holy Spirit expresses to the Father exactly what I want to communicate. All I could get out was “Lord have mercy on me!!!” I know I’ve portrayed myself as strong and rejected being pitied by men, but Jesus on this day humble myself and just request your mercy.
Jesus responded to this leprous group differently than the leprous man he encountered in , where then he touched the leper affirming his willingness to make him clean. Here Jesus interprets they want to be clean, and he instructs them to go to the priests. This was to adhere to and 14. The priest served as religious health inspectors. It’s as if Jesus was saying go to the church assembly now, and show yourself. The challenge though is that beyond 7 days, one was supposed to go to the priests when they were improving. When Jesus says this, they had no improvement. But when they obeyed the word of Jesus, in the process of going, they all were fully cured of their leprosy. Hallelujah!!!
Application: I don’t know what your leprosy is or has been. But this is evidence that Jesus has the power to fully cure whatever inner disease. What’s more powerful is that he can do it at a distance. What brings that cure is an obedient faith to the words of Jesus! Because the cleansing took place AS THEY WERE GOING. Not only our hearts, but also the symptomatic behaviors! This means that our faith brings about a cleansing process of our hearts. Some symptoms last a little bit, but AS WE ARE GOING in faith, even our symptoms will begin to disappear.
One of them began looking at himself and noticed the raw flesh was now brand new flesh. The sores started disappearing. The pain subsided. With overwhelming joy, he had to turn around and go back to Jesus. Loudly rejoicing in GOD, “GOD you are awesome”, “Ahhhhh!!! GOD is almighty!”, “You are a healer indeed!!” When he saw Jesus this time, there was no fear, shame, distance, or isolation. He was full of praise and humility, shown by how he fell at Jesus feet and he wouldn’t stop expressing his appreciation to Jesus. What’s even more significant is that this man had been double rejected, because not only had he been leprous but he was also a Samaritan, who were generally despised and avoided by Jews.
Application: See praise and gratitude are personal. Some folk don’t know or understand just how far GOD has brought you. And even when some do, they don’t get why you praise and thank him with all your might. But when you know the source of your healing and transformation, nothing will stop your praise and gratitude. And such praise and gratitude brings us closer and closer to the very feet of Jesus! No matter how much we were or felt isolated from his presence.
Now we must remember that everything Jesus said and did was by the command from GOD the father. That means when Jesus acted, it was the father’s actions. When Jesus spoke, it was the father speaking. Thus when Jesus asks these three questions, it reveals how GOD feels about it. GOD is disappointed. There were 10 purified! And nobody else saw it necessary to come back and give GOD some glory, except one that doesn’t even belong to the chosen people of GOD! What a shame!
Application: Sometimes we can get caught up in the happiness of the blessing that we forget about the giver of the blessing. So happy to get back to the activities I haven’t been able to do. As soon as I leave the priest, I gotta go see my family. Or I feel like I deserved this anyway, because it wasn’t fair that I had that condition in the first place. All these things can get in the way of sincere gratitude toward GOD. And when they do, it’s like a slap in GOD’s face. Therefore, our faith should be accompanied by gratitude. They all had faith to start walking, but the 9’s faith was lacking because it didn’t lead to gratitude.
This is supported by the next verse when Jesus says, “Your faith has made you well”. Thus, faith is more complete when it express itself in gratitude.
What desire has been like leprosy in your life? Maybe you’ve called on Jesus and obeyed him through faith and your heart was purified, but sometimes you still have symptoms. Continue, and GOD will continue cleansing you. Lastly, have you remembered that it was GOD that brought you from where you were? Give him thanks.