Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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2 Ten takers to one thankful – Part 2

Luke 17:11-19

11 “As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you. ”

Not only did they all have the same problem but they also had the same:

  1. Prayer

When they saw Jesus all ten utter the same prayer, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Now there are two things that we need to note here, first their observation. They not only sensed their need but they saw the solution, Jesus the Savior. They realized their need for Jesus because they recognized that they had a problem. You only call out for help if and when you see your need for it. If we never acknowledge our real problem we will never recognize God’s provision. The reason sinners don’t come to Christ for salvation is that they don’t see their sin as a problem, and without recognition of sin we will never see the need for a Savior. How about you, do you see your need for Jesus? The loneliness of leprosy and the sores from their sickness made them fully aware of their need for help. So they cry out to the Messiah for mercy. Who are you going to cry out to for a cure? The second thing we see is their obedience, they do what Christ commands.  Prayer without obedience is useless. Don’t pray and expect to experience God’s power if you won’t pursue His plan. Jesus tells them to go to the priest not because the priests had the power to cure but because they had the authority to declare them clean when they were cured. This certificate of cleanliness meant that they could come back and join their community. But one of the most often overlooked aspects of this story is that they were not healed immediately. Only as they went were they healed, verse 14: “And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.” As they were obedient to the command of Christ they were changed and became clean. Why don’t we experience lasting life change because we don’t obey Christs commands. Their healing was not just a matter of hearing but also heeding. Do you hear Christ’s commands, do you heed them? They all had the same problem, they all prayed, they all experienced physical healing but only one:

  1. Praised

Verses 15-19: “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done.” Notice that they all prayed but only one praised. We are quick to cry out in prayer over our problems but are we quick to praise? They all observed the problem and cried out, they all obeyed Christs command, but only one took the opportunity to praise. Jesus didn’t tell them to come back and say thanks so why did he return, because he saw a reason to praise God. He praised because he saw the difference that Jesus made in his life. For nine of them it was only about the results but for this man it was also about the relationship. We are quick to run to Jesus with our problems yet slow to return with praise. Many see their need to pray but don’t see their need to praise. All ten had a reason to praise God, but only one saw it. Only one took the opportunity because only one saw the true object of our praise. Are you praying to Jesus only for the results or is it also about relationship. Many people try to pursue the power without the person. So where were the other nine, where did they go after they were declared clean? Did they return to their family and friends? Were they caught up in all the blessings brought into their lives by being clean? We don’t really know but I bet they didn’t use their new found freedom for sin. I’m sure that what they chased after when they were clean was good but it just wasn’t God. The one who returned and went first to Jesus loved his wife and kids just as much. He longed to hug and hold them just as much as the other nine. Wanted to see and spend time with his friends just as much and wanted to enjoy the blessing just as much as the others. So why did he pursue praise first, priorities. He didn’t get so wrapped up in the blessing that he forgot the blesser. He put family, friends and fellowship on hold to worship the One that made being with family and friends possible. He didn’t just slip in and secretly say thanks, scripture says he shouted his praise to God. With the same volume and intensity that he had voiced his problem, he now cried out in praise. Why do we seem to cry loud for help yet low with praise? Do you cry out in praise with the same intensity that you cry out in pain? This man didn’t just put Jesus first he also fell face down at Jesus feet. This is prostrate praise, praise that brings us low before the Lord, not because we are unworthy but because He is worthy. Now hear me loud and clear, praise is not a matter of our physical position but of our heart position before Him. It’s not about falling face down or following some formula, but true forgiveness will always create a heart of humility. One of the results of God’s mercy is meekness, true healing should humble. So what about my heart is it humble? Here was a Samaritan healed of his sickness, a foreigner who experienced forgiveness. This was a man who got more than the others did. They received physical healing from a distance but this man did life with the Lord. They experienced mercy he experienced the Messiah. They all experienced God’s healing hand but only one experienced His heart. This leper teaches us that thankfulness completes our healing. Healing is about being made whole, and while all ten of the lepers found physical healing, only this one found wholeness. Today many are quick to cry out over their problems yet seem paralyzed when it comes to giving praise. We are takers but are we thankers? What has Jesus done for you? Are you returning regularly to rejoice? What am I thankful for, and how is it being expressed through my life and the way that I live? Praise is practical it’s not something we preach but something we practice. Thankfulness is not theory, it’s not something that we think but something that we do. Who in your life do you need to thank? What about those who have sacrificially served our country, are you thankful for their service, if so when was the last time you visited the veterans home? Or what about the police, we are quick to point out their problems but do we ever praise. We are blessed by the men in blue but do we ever say thank you? What about parents, we spend a lot of time protesting but do we ever praise. Why are people so rude today, why are we rotten because we don’t rejoice, we are continually taking yet calloused to thanking. When a person can’t see past self they become short sighted and spoiled. What about your heart is it one of taking or thanking? Taking makes it hard but thanks keeps it tender.