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11. And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13. And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16. And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18. There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Tonight I want to talk to you about healing, the healing of the ten lepers in particular, and the healing power of God in general. How many of you have experienced divine healing in your life in just recent weeks? Would you as a testimony raise your hand? Oh hallelujah! How wonderful to see.
The dreaded disease of leprosy in the time of Jesus or any time brings together unusual kinds of people. It seems that political divisions or religious divisions or racial divisions do not make any difference when it comes to leprosy. I’m sure we could say the same kind of things these days in regard to the plague of aids or other terrible diseases. Here are evidently nine Jews who are now associating with a Samaritan and they are in a group of ten together and they are leprous men, all ten of them. They are together. Jesus passed through the borders of Samaria and Galilee. They had heard about Him and they met Him. They were careful to keep their distance because of being lepers and they cried with loud voices saying Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
I want us to look at their story tonight and I think there are some points that we can apply from this passage and from this story. It’s a simple message, but when I was preparing this message, being interested in healing myself it spoke to me and stood out to me in a very special way. I want to bring to you some lessons we can learn from this story and hopefully we can apply them to our own hearts.
First of all, I want to remind you of something you already know. Jesus receives people who are afar off. People may be afar off from God in more ways than one. In this case they had to stand afar off because they were lepers and because of that terrible disease. It was the custom of the time to keep their distance and stand at a distance from Jesus. Other people may have a long distance from Christ because of being unclean, maybe not with leprosy, but with sin. With Jesus Christ, distance does not matter. He receives people who may be a long way off from Him. People who at one time may have been close to him, but now are afar off are still received by Him. Jesus receives people who have never been close to Him and have always been afar off, where there are great distances between them and His love and compassion. Here is the reason He receives them. They cried with a loud voice. They recognized Him first of all as Jesus and then as Master. As you know, His Name, Jesus, represents His saving, redemptive office because the angel said You shall call His Name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins. His Name or title, Master, has to do with His Lordship. Somehow they recognized this. I can’t begin to tell you how important this is. When people are received even though they are a long way off from Christ they recognize Him as Savior and as Lord.
A lot of people only want to look at Him as Savior, but it really touches our Lord as Master and Lord. Some people just want His blessings instead of making Him Lord and Master of their lives. That’s not the way it works all the time. There may be sometimes that Jesus will simply bless people whether or not they accept Him as Lord and Master. Most of the time, that works together, receiving what Jesus is and His blessings, because you see Jesus is what He gives. He can give bread in a miraculous way, but He said I am the bread of life. He is what He gives. He gives light into a darkened life, because He said I am the light of the world. Jesus is what He gives and if you receive His blessings and what He gives you must also receive Him as Lord and Master. If you keep His blessing, if you keep His gracious gifts of blessing and healing and love, then you have to recognize Him as not only Jesus, but as Master and Lord as well.
Jesus receives people who are afar off and a long way from Him because they cry out for mercy. In their crying out, they recognize who He is. There is no way for us to know how many people have missed what they needed because they didn’t ask and they didn’t cry out. Our Lord has made it perfectly clear to ask and to seek and to knock. He means by that to keep on asking, and keep on seeking and keep on knocking.
Jesus receives people who are a long way off when they cry out to Him for mercy with real sincerity and they recognize Him as Jesus and Master. I don’t know exactly what God is doing when He impresses my heart with certain messages or certain applications in particular. But I need to tell somebody here tonight and I don’t know who you are, that you may feel like you are a long, long way from Him and His will. But I need to tell you that a cry for His mercy will bring you close. It will bring you to His delivering power and His healing virtue. This ought to be the time that you cry out to Him with all your heart. He will hear.
Jesus then receives people who cry out for mercy. They lifted up their voices. They called out Have mercy upon us, Jesus Master. They recognized Him and the Bible says that Jesus saw them. Think about that for a moment, what it means for Jesus to actually see – to look your way, to understand your case and to see you right where you are.
We have a little granddaughter that lives here in Cleveland. One of our regular routines when she is at our house is after we have eaten, she says Papaw, tell me a story. She climbs up and sits at the end of the table, on the table facing me. She will say Look at me, Papaw. She wants me to look at her. She wants my undivided attention while I tell her a story. I’ve told her all kinds of stories about when I was a boy. My wife has told her similar stories and she always wants to hear the stories, but she wants undivided attention. And, of course, we delight in giving her undivided attention.
It is wonderful when Jesus looks at you because He sees and He understands. Let me give you another illustration of another great healing from John chapter 9. Jesus and His disciples walked out and they saw a man who was born blind. Look what the disciples saw. They only saw a subject of theological debate to discuss. Who sinned? This man or his parents that he should be born blind? What difference does it make if you lay the blame either way because the man is blind? But the Bible says that Jesus saw a man. He saw a man, yes, a blind man. He said this particular situation is presented to us so that the works of God may be made manifest in him. His deformity was not caused from himself or from his parents, either, but that the works of God might be made manifest in his life. I need to tell somebody here tonight that if there is something wrong in your life regardless of the kind of need, if you can get His attention and He looks straight at you and He understands, He will see it as an opportunity for the works of God to be made manifest in your life. Oh, hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
If there is a special need tonight, why don’t you say Look at me, Jesus. Look at me, Jesus. I’m crying out to you. Will you look at me? He will understand. Praise the Lord! Do you feel like you’ve got His attention? Do you feel like He’s looking right down in your life? Do you feel like He is just zeroing in on you and it’s just you and Jesus in this house tonight and you are seeing Him and He is seeing you?
[Message in tongues.] Interpretation: Keep your eyes focused upon Me, saith the Lord. Let your faith reach toward Me. See Me in My glory and power because I bestow upon you the gifts of My love. I bestow upon you healing mercies tonight. I bring My healing presence in this house to make you every whit whole. Look unto Me, saith the Lord.
When Jesus saw them, He then just gave them simple instructions. A number of the miracles that we read of Christ, most of them there is some instruction given to individual people. The miracle takes place when they act upon it in obedience. I’ve been praying lately, Lord instruct me. Lord, I’m reporting for duty on my knees. Will you please direct me? If there is a lesson I need to learn, let me learn it well now, Lord. If there is something You want to say to me, Lord, say it to me through Thy spirit or the Word or someway somehow. This message tonight is an answer to one such prayer. You can look at so many miracles and Jesus just simply asked people to get involved with the simple act of obedience. Sometimes it comes as a challenge and they don’t respond but make excuses. Then He brushes excuses away and then He gives a command. If obeyed, it brings a miracle. The man at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus challenged him. Jesus asked him if he wanted a whole life. The man started to make excuses, then Jesus pushed it aside and said Rise, take up your bed and walk. When he started trying, the miracle came.
I’m lifting this up as a special spiritual principle that may very well work in our lives. When we are needing something from the Lord, we should also listen to His instructions because there may be something He wants us to do in response to His direction. I can just pretty well rest assured of this one this that if you disobey His instructions, don’t expect a miracle. On the other hand, there have been so many that He instructed and they obeyed and the miracle did indeed come until there is a strong precedence set in the Holy Word for the Lord to act that way in our behalf. He didn’t say to these men You’re healed or anything like that. He said Go show yourselves to the priest. They don’t argue. This is strange, but they just take off in a hurry to go see the priest. The Bible says as they went, they were cleansed. Now I think you could accept this as a principle tonight…as we obey. This sets in force His divine power and His gracious love for our lives. If we are rebellious and stubborn, it blocks the work of His Spirit in our lives. But when He instructs and we obey, it releases His glorious power because we are acting in faith. Simple obedience to what He directs is the greatest expression of your faith that you can have. You don’t have to get a big bank account of grace and faith and say Oh, I’ve got it here. That may not be the way it works, but just simply obey.
Sometimes He instructs us to do the impossible. In many of the miracles in the Scriptures, He told the people to do what was impossible. This time they could go and show themselves to the priest. As they went, they were cleansed. As we obey, we unleash the power of His grace and His glory. There is nothing in all the world like receiving word from the Lord and you get up and obey it and you have the manifestation of His presence and power. There is nothing like that in all the world.
Bible tells us about one of the people in particular who was healed. This was a very special message when Jesus told it, in particular to the Jews who were so filled with prejudice against the Samaritans. In Luke we’ve already studied the story of the Good Samaritan. There is a strong emphasis in the gospel of Luke in particular people who are not from the chosen line and background, but nevertheless, who have great character and great faith and who obey Christ. When the Lord looks at faith, He doesn’t see the name written on that faith. He doesn’t look at the background. He doesn’t have to decide if the person is worth. When He sees faith and obedience, it simply turns His power loose regardless of who we are. This Samaritan, when he saw that he was cleansed, it overwhelmed him and he turned and ran back and with a loud voice, the same kind of loud voice when he cried Jesus, Master have mercy on us, now it’s a different sound but still a loud voice and he is glorifying God. Our Lord Jesus Christ honors people who glorify God and people who are humble, who come and fall on their face and people who have a thankful heart. That’s one reason why there is so much in Scripture about us giving glory to God and humbling ourselves and giving thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. Not that it builds Him up in any way, so to speak, but He knows what it will do for us when we live in such an attitude. He honored such a person. Samaritan or not, it didn’t matter. Here is a person who comes back with a loud voice. He is thankful and he glorifies God. You would be, too, if you were facing a terminal disease and suddenly you realized you were cleansed of it and it was gone. You wouldn’t mind lifting your voice and crying out and praising God and giving the glory to God.
Then in humility he fell on his face before Jesus. Even at this point, he does not dare to rush up and grab hold of the Master. Even at this point, he bows in the presence of divinity. He bows in the presence of divine deliverance. He bows in the presence of divine healing. He bows on his face in the presence of the Son of God who brings life to deadness. Jesus honored him. He honors faith. He honors humility. He honors thanksgiving. He honors lifting up our hearts and praising Him and thanking Him. He honored him. He said Arise, go thy way. Thy faith hath made thee whole. What words of reassurance. What words of comfort. What words of gracious love.
Let me just summarize again. Jesus receives people regardless of the distance, regardless of how far off they are, regardless of how unclean or in their condition when they cry out to Him for mercy and recognizing Him as Jesus and Lord, He sees them. He sees them for what they are; people who desperately need life and help. He gives instructions and when obeyed, the obedience unleashes the power of God. Then He honors us when we give Him the credit and we give Him the glory and we give thanksgiving and we give praise to Him.
Will you please stand.
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