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Serving the Master



Doxology Hymn no 331:         “Majesty”

Call to worship

Bible Verse

Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. (Psalm 96:9-10)


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, (Galatians 1:3)

Hymn No 1:                                 “Rejoice the Lord is King”

Invocation and the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Scripture Reading                     Leviticus 14:1-20

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Declaration of pardoning

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)

Hymn No 454:                            “Lord of our Life”

Offering and Dedication

Prayer for others

Scripture Reading                     Luke 17:11-19     



Dear Brother and Sister in the Lord,

Last Sunday morning we heard the Gospel of the Lord proclaimed from Luke 17 the first paragraph.  It was important to see the connection between the lessons of our Lord in these verses.  First there was the lesson of taking care to not become a stumbling block to others.  The next was to forgive if someone else became a stumbling block to you.

In order for this to be possible we do not need more faith as the disciples asked the Lord to give them, but dedication and commitment. 

To bring home this truth the Lord told the parable of the servant. He was on the field al day long.  He tended the sheep and ploughed the field. Then, towards the evening after the full day’s work, he serves his master who sat down and expected to be served.  Only after he did all that was required of him, he could sit down and look after his own needs.

Verse 9 implies that this was the normal thing for a servant to do.  The servant did what he was supposed to do, he did not even expect thanks.

8 Then the Lord applies this truth to his disciples.

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:10)

They were commanded, or: as servants, or slaves (and maybe we must understand something of a bond-slave who was so indebted to his master that he hand no choice as to whether  he would like to do something or not until he was set free) they were given detailed instructions as to what must be done.  (Bond-slaves were fellow Israelites who got into financial debt to the point were they “sold” themselves to others with the idea to give themselves in order to pay off their debts.  In the Year of Jubilee these slaves could be set free, but many chose to remain under the instruction of the person who bought them.  They were bond-slaves who then were considered part of the family, to enjoy all the privileges of the family, but they were not free.  They were forever indebted!)

Now Jesus refers to his disciples as slaves or servants under instruction to just as they are told – even if it means to serve al day long and to continue serving into the night – because the Master demanded it.  The only possible reaction o the part of the disciples was:  “We do so because it is our duty.”  In the Greek it says:  “We do it because we are indebted.”

And now the Holy Spirit inspired Luke, the doctor who researched the life and works of our Lord and wrote down the Gospel, to continue his Gospel with the story of the ten lepers.  The main theme here is gratitude for salvation.

This is the link between the previous paragraph and the present.

We find two concepts in these paragraphs that not only link them together but also help us to understand the true meaning of following Jesus.

8 Master

The first is that of the master. 8 The one to whom the servants belong because of his ownership over them.  He bought them out of distress and placed them under his 8 authority.  In the story of the lepers the Master is Jesus who healed the lepers from their dreadful disease.

Our Lord, the Master, was on his way to Jerusalem.  It was his last journey between the northern regions and the south.  He chose to make the journey along the border between Galilee and Samaria.  8 As Master He was in control.  There was business to be done.  There were lepers in need of healing. He knew that and that was the intention:  to heal them.

Slaves and outcasts – the indebted


As Jesus approached this village, lepers cried out the Him:

8 “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (Luke 17:13)

Have pity on us:  to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need.

There were strict measures in the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament.  We read about it from Leviticus 14 tonight.

8 The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp. (Lev 13:45-46)

8 “Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has an infectious skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. Send away male and female alike; send them outside the camp so they will not defile their camp, where I dwell among them.” (Numbers 5:2-3)

This disease “begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal.” “In Christ’s day no leper could live in a walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling out, ‘Unclean! unclean!’ nor could he speak to any one, or receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves an embrace.”

Leprosy was “the outward and visible sign of the innermost spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts, degrades, and defiles man’s inner nature, and renders him unfit to enter the presence of a pure and holy God” (Maclear’s Handbook O.T).

What more could these helpless people asked for?  Consider further their social standing in the eyes of the Israelites. 

8 One was a Samaritan

In the time of Christ, Western Palestine was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied the centre of Palestine (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud the “land of the Cuthim,” and is not regarded as a part of the Holy Land at all.

8 After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the temple, which made them enemies for life.

8 The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had “no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9; comp. Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord was in contempt called “a Samaritan” (John 8:48).

8 The merciful Master

As Jesus walked this way, as He heard the cry of the lepers, and because He knew that they were outcasts, He stopped.  He saw them. 8  He took special notice of something, with the implication of concerning oneself. He made it his business to stop and talk to them. This word can also mean “to understand”.  Indeed, He came into the world to seek and to save the lost.

8 Now the Master commands.  They had to present themselves to the priests. Perhaps they didn’t even expect to be healed.  Perhaps they only expected a handout. But Jesus as Master commanded them.  Now suddenly the prospect of being healed arose on the horizon. And they, if they wanted healing had to obey the command.  They started heading towards the priest to present themselves and as they walked they were healed.  8 On their way away from Jesus on his command, they received healing.  They were restored.  They were healed from this dreadful disease that made them outcasts.  They could now enter the city never to be considered as not belonging to those hiding.  8 At last they were free, and part of the blessed people who could even freely worship God in the temple.

The Bible does not tell us that they ever got to the priests. Of course the priests could not heal them, only God could; but the priests performed the duty under God to see that the life of Israel in every respect were pure and holy.  They could only verify and declare and once again restore the fellowship as a result of the healing.

8 But one could not really go to the priests.  Even if he was healthy he would not be allowed in the fellowship of believers. They were not in the least interested in him, his health, his loneliness or his desire to just be part of something.  8 He was a Samaritan.

Would he need a priest?  Yes!  But they don’t care about him.  Where would the Spirit of God point him to?  As soon as became aware of the fact that he was restored, he realized that he had to go back to the One who is the Master.  No more than that:  He was God. 

He rushed back to Jesus.  There was no point in going to the priests according to the line of Levi.  That was now phasing out.  8 There was another priest, who the High Priest, now according to the priesthood of Melchizedeck. He was the everlasting Priest.  He was also the everlasting sacrifice.  The Samaritan did not need the ordinary sacrifices for his disease.  He did not need the priests.  He only needed to glorify Jesus Christ as God.  And that he did.

8 He turned back.  Was that the beginning of a new life in the Lord for this man?  He came back praising God.  And he did it with a loud voice.  8 He threw himself at the feet of Jesus and prostrate, like a servant who has become a bond slave, he praised God.  He thanked Jesus for the benefits and blessings he received. 8 He who was considered to be an outcast, and even considered by God’s own people as foreigner, belonging to a different socio-political group, with the implication of lack of kinship ties, now worshipped God. 

He was lost, outcast, worth nothing.  Visibly he wore the sores or defilement and rejection.  As a nothing, he returned and became a slave of Christ.

His gratitude sheds light on the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as he addressed his disciples:8

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:10)

8 So our discipleship and servant hood in Christ receives it meaning.  Working all day, long hours, without thanks from the Master?  Always ready to serve?  Why would you do that?  I was lost, an outcast, sure to die, with no future.  I deserved nothing.  But He healed me.  He picked me up from the pit of darkness and hell and made me a heir of God and co-heir of Christ. 

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12)

And to this the apostle Paul adds these words:

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17)


What is the quality of our discipleship?  Do we understand the commitment of following Jesus and serving the King of all kings?  We will probably not understand it unless we understand what it means to be saved from eternal hell.  Gratitude for salvation is only possible in the face of the reality of eternal damnation.  It is only possible in the face of eternal grace.  Gratitude without commitment is hollow and meaningless.  To say you are thankful but it doesn’t show in your daily commitment, is to not understand. Gratitude says:  We only do as we are commanded.  We are indebted.  It is our duty.



Hymn No 517:                            “Saviour, your dying love”


Threefold “Amen”

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