John T. Willis

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers--Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus moves from Galilee to Jerusalem, he encounters ten lepers and cleanses them. This brief text appears in Luke 17:11-19. This little paragraph contains four very important points. Thus, this blog will emphasizes these four points. I. All People Need God's HELP through Jesus Christ. Luke 17:11-13. a. Luke says that Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. Galilee is in the northern part of Israel: see Luke 1:26; 2:4, 39; 3:1; 4:14, 31, 44; 5:17; 8:26; 23:5, 49, 55; Acts 9:31; 10:37; 13:31. Jesus was moving from west to east as he came to the region or province of Samaria, which stretches in the hill country of Israel from the Plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon to the northern border of Judah or Judea. "Samaria" appears in Acts 1:8; 8:1, 5, 9, 14; 9:31; 15:3. 17:11. b. Jesus came to an unnamed village, where he encountered ten lepers, who kept their distance from Jesus. 17:12. c. The ten lepers cried out to Jesus, saying: "Jesus, Master, Have mercy on us!" It is amazing that they already knew Jesus' name and that they recognized him as their Master. "Have mercy on us" is a prayer in which the lepers are requesting help from Jesus. Hence, they assume that Jesus is divine, Jesus comes from God the Father. 17:13. II. Jesus HEALS the ten lepers. Luke 17:14. a. First, Jesus commanded the lepers to keep the Law of Moses as clearly taught in Leviticus 13:49; 14:2-4; 5:14. God the Father cleansed the ten lepers, but he did not do this instanteously, but in several days according to the Law of Moses. b. The lepers obeyed Jesus' instructions, and God the Father cleansed them. God works in various ways to carry out his purposes. III. One leper showed his gratitude to God through Jesus. Luke 17:15-16b. a. When one of the lepers realized he was healed, he went back to Jesus--first to PRAISE GOD the Father in a loud voice so that all around could hear and understand what he said. Remember: Jesus Christ ALWAYS works under the power of his heavenly Father. 17:15. b. Second, the leper fell at Jesus' feet and THANKED him for working under God the Father to heal him. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke Chapters X-XXIV, The Anchor Bible, 28A, pages 1155 explains well: "The glorification of God expresses itself in gratitude to Jesus. God's agent, through whom he had been cured of his leprosy. Only here in the New Testament is thanks expressed to Jesus; it is addressed elsewhere to God [the Father] himself." 17:16. IV. Foreigners often are closer to God than the Chosen People of God. Luke 17:16c-19. a. Luke emphasizes the fact that the ONLY leper who REALLY appreciated God's healing and thanking Jesus was a SAMARITAN. Obviously, the other nine lepers were Judeans or Jews. There was a very long history of division between the ten northern tribes and the one southern tribe of Judah. 17:16c. b. Jesus was very disappointed because the nine lepers did not return to praise God and thank Jesus. Fitzmyer continues his thoughts on the same page: "The nine were presumably Jews, members of the house of Israel. Obedient enough to carry out Jesus's injunction to present themselves to the priests, they were cured--physically; but their failure to react responsibly (in not glorifying God and thanking Jesus) reveals that they have missed the greatest moment of their lives." Unfortunately, often we miss the golden opportunity to honor God and serve others. 17:17-18. c. Then Jesus said to the Samaritan leper: "YOUR FAITH has made you well." Real faith, Deep faith ALWAYS motivates a person to be grateful and to praise or glorify God. We are ALL dependent on God, and daily we must be grateful. Paul emphasizes this point in Colossians 3:15-17: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And BE THANKFUL. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and WITH GRATITUDE IN YOUR HEARTS sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do in word of deed, do everything int he name of the Lord Jesus, GIVING THANKS to God the Father through him." Share YOUR inhibitions and insights and biases and shortcomings and feelings with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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