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Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:17-19

‘He was a Samaritan.’

Only the most bigoted person would be able to grasp the full meaning of this simple phrase. To say the Jews hated the Samaritans would be far too soft of a statement. Self-respecting Jews would have nothing to do with Samaritans socially, religiously or in business transactions. People going from Galilee to Judea would do whatever they could to go around Samaria or travel through it very quickly.

The Samaritans had mutual feelings for the Jews. It was a hatred that went deep to the soul.

Funny how adversity can bring even the most hated enemies together though. As Jesus traveled the borderland of Galilee and Samaria he came to a village that must have been very close to the border. The group of lepers that approached him we most likely Jewish, except for one. Somehow, for whatever reason, the group of ‘walking dead’ had bonded. Now, as a last ditch effort, the group approached this Jewish teacher and begged to be healed.

There was absolutely no reason on earth that the Samaritan should be healed by Jesus. He was an outcast. He didn’t believe the same way as Jesus, in our society it might be best described by saying he was from a different denomination. Still, Jesus reached out to him.

It really should be no surprise that he would do that. He reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to the woman in Tyre. Jesus’ main ministry was to his Jewish brothers and sisters, but he wasn’t above reaching out to others.

He still does that today. We sit in our warm, comfy sanctuaries and thank God for all he’s given us, but do we really realize the extent of his reaching out? Do we fall to our knees as the Samaritan did and cling to him realizing the death sentence we lived under has been removed?

Ten men were healed of the terrible physical disease of leprosy that day. Ten men went home that night to restart life with loving family members. Ten men once again became members of a society that had branded them as outcasts. Only one went home with a healed soul.

We seek to heal our outsides in hopes that the healing will satisfy our soul. The tenth leper found that the only true healing comes from the inside out.

That’s why I’m thankful this morning. Like the leper, I was far from God. Things I’ve done had separated me from God and from others. Jesus never looks at what a person has done, he only looks as what he can do for that person and he freed me from the load of guilt, shame and embarrassment. All because he loves me.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I too fall on my knees before you in humble adoration and praise for all you have done for me. Others may still look down on me. Others may still criticize and doubt me, but you know my heart. Thank you for healing me. Amen.


As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance  and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Luke 17:12-13

In Jesus’ day, leprosy was a terrible disease. While it is treatable today, during Biblical times it was a slow moving and eventually fatal disease. Small skin lesions would begin to eat away at fingers, toes and facial features and in later stages destroy the nervous system and lead to death.

While the physical disease was horrific, it may have been the emotional and spiritual part of the disease that was more painful to endure. Since there was no cure for leprosy and it was considered highly contagious. When a person was diagnosed with leprosy they were sent away from society so that the people would be spared. The leper was required to let his hair grow long, wear torn clothes, cover he lower part of his face and call out “Unclean! Unclean!” when a person without leprosy approached.

Often lepers would live alone or in colonies just outside the city wall. Imagine being a spouse or a child and only get to see your father from a distance. Imagine the emotional heartache and the financial burden that would be placed on the family because ‘daddy can’t live at home anymore.’

But it gets worse! Not only did society reject and isolate the leper, the church did too! Leprosy was considered a symbol of sin. Therefore if a person got leprosy it was assumed that the person (and perhaps the family) had sin in their lives. As a result, the family of a leper was under just as much suspicion as the leper when it came to sin.

When the ten lepers in Luke 17 saw Jesus they approached him as far as was appropriate and begged for mercy. They knew their need for healing and they had no doubt heard about this itinerant preacher who healed people everywhere he went.

The lesson each of us can learn from the ten lepers is that we all have a tremendous need for Jesus. We all have sin in our lives that keep us from a relationship with God. We all have a fatal disease called ‘being human’ that will eventually lead to death. The death rate among humans is 100%.

The advantage we have over the lepers is that we can hide most of our sin if we choose. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, pornography, anger/abuse and other ‘diseases of the soul’ have done quite well at covering up the secret lives they live. However, God sees through the façade. He isn’t fooled by religious activity or many words of assurance. Like the leper, our private lives are wide open to God.

I’m thankful today that I don’t have to hide behind all sorts of masks and disguises. I’m thankful that Jesus sees my faults as clearly as he saw the leperous sores on the men he came across that day and accepts me as I am with all my faults.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus like the leper, I have a disease. I can hide it from others but I know I can’t hide if from you. Thank you that even though you know my weakness, you love me just the same. Thank you that because of your forgiveness I don’t have to call out “Unclean! Unclean!” Amen


Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:3

In Jesus’ day the most socially outcast person around was the leper. The disease itself was repulsive. As it progressed it ate away at the victim’s skin leaving stubs for fingers and toes and the stench of rotting flesh. To add to the burden of the disease was the notion that leprosy was an act of God because of sin. The result? A leper was socially, physically and spiritually outcast. No one would come near a leper if his life depended on it.

Matthew tells us that as Jesus came down from the mountain a crowd gathered to meet him. In the midst of the crowd a leper came face to face with Jesus and bowed before him. I can imagine the scene. The crowd parted like the Red Sea to permit this vulgar looking, smelly man through. It wasn’t their concern for his well-being that caused them to make a straight path. They were repulsed by the stench and appearance of this man.

We see no adverse reaction on Jesus’ part. The Bible says the man came and knelt before the Savior. He had not doubt Jesus COULD heal him. The question nagging him was if Jesus WOULD heal him.

We may not be lepers. We may not be socially outcast. In fact, we may be socially outstanding persons and spiritually respected. Regardless of our position in society, each of us have the same need. The need to experience the touch of Jesus. Each of us, as it were, are spiritual lepers with a disease called sin that slowly eats away at us. The only thing that can bring life to our spiritually decrepit body is Jesus touch.

As with the leper, Jesus is more than willing to reach out and touch us. He is more than able to cleanse us from the sin we bear. It’s not important how we got to the place on the journey. It’s not important if it was our fault or the fault of someone else. What’s important is that we receive the healing touch only Jesus can give.

There’s another part to this story that we often overlook. While we may not have the opportunity to heal those around us from physical disease, each of us, as Christ-followers, can touch those around us with the love of Jesus. The effect of physical touch is healing in and of itself. A hand on the shoulder, a hug discreetly given, a firm and compassionate handshake can do wonders for the soul.

Accept the touch of Jesus for yourself and experience his healing. Pass that touch of Jesus’ love to those around you who are in need of a physical reminder that Jesus loves them. Your touch may be the very thing they need for their own healing. Don’t let their ‘leprosy’ keep you from showing them Jesus love.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank and praise you for the healing touch you have given me when I’m so undeserving of it. Help me to show your love to those around me that are in need of your touch as well. In your name, Amen.

 


Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Mark 1:41-42 (NLT)

His body was racked with pain. His disease had progressed to the point where his fingers were nothing but nubs. The stench of rotting flesh hovered around him like a cloud. He was repulsive to look at and even those who loved him the most could no longer stand to be near him. Leprosy, at this time, was considered a sure sign of sin and, as a result, even the religious community rejected him. He was alone, rejected and without hope.

Then Jesus came. We aren’t told what made him stop at the man’s voice. We only know that when Jesus looked on him He was moved with compassion, not disgust. The man had nothing to offer Jesus. There was no chance of him ‘cleaning up his act’ for God. Yet in his misery Jesus was moved with compassion.

Nothing has changed. Today Jesus still looks at those of us who are hopeless, sinful and rebellious human beings. We have nothing to offer Him. No matter how much we try to be good, we end up being bad. No matter how hard we try to live a good life, things still seem to fall apart.

Our leprosy may not be physical. It may be financial or relational or emotional. We may suffer from the consequences of our own actions, or the results of other people who mean to do us harm.

How you got where you are isn’t important and getting yourself out isn’t possible. There are no membership requirements. Like the leper, Jesus looks at you with compassion. He doesn’t just see your plight, He is moved to compassion. That’s active, not passive. All you have to do is ask.

Jesus loves you. He isn’t interested in what you can bring to the table. He’s only interested in seeing you healed and restored.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I look at my life and confess to you that I am not worthy of the healing you have offered me. There are so many times I still try to do things on my own. So many times I do what I want when I know it’s wrong. So many times I make stupid mistakes. Please forgive me and give me your healing touch. I claim the promise that in You, no matter what I’ve done in the past, I can be clean. Amen

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