Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

One in Ten Thankful

In Luke 17:11-19 is found the well known story of Jesus healing ten lepers.  This is a beautiful story in a setting of hopelessness and despair. Leprosy is contracted through close proximity to those who are infected.  In Bible times, lepers were required to stay outside the camp of Israel. They lived lonely, poverty-stricken lives, waiting for death to deliver them.

 

The disease strikes the nervous system and appears on the skin as a white spot. As time goes on the leper loses all feeling in his body.  As a result, when cut or burned he never feels any pain.  Infections result and in time the leper loses parts of his body as it wastes away with infections.

 

Leprosy is a picture of sin.  All of us are sinners and  we are all under the curse of sin, which is death.  As leprosy alienates the victim from others, so sin alienates us from God and from one another.  That alienation is described in Ephesians 2:12-13  and 4:17-19

 

As lepers are made unclean by the disease, so sin makes us unclean and defiled. Read the description of this in Isaiah 1:4-6,  64:6  and Romans 1:21-32

 

Leviticus 13 instructed the priests in identifying the disease.  Leviticus 14 gave the Levitical priests detailed instructions for the ceremonial cleansing of a leper who has been healed.

 

Three lepers are identified in the Old Testament, though there were many more.

 

Miriam, Moses’ older sister, was stricken with leprosy for her rebellion against Moses’ leadership. The story of her rebellion and resulting leprosy are recorded in Number 12:1-15.  The story ends with Moses praying for her and God answering his prayers by healing her.

 

King Uzziah of Judah also contracted leprosy when he attempted to usurp the role of priest.  The story is told in II Chronicles 26.  He was never healed, but died a leper.

 

The third story is perhaps the most well known story of leprosy in the Bible. It is found in II Kings 5.  Read this very interesting story of Naaman, the Syrian Captain who contracted the disease.  Elisha the prophet instructed him to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times and be healed.  Read of how he almost missed his healing because of pride.  He finally obeyed the prophet and came up from the water the seventh time with not a trace of leprosy.  

 

In the New Testament Gospels we read of lepers whom Jesus healed and  cleansed. In Luke 5 we learn of a leper who came to Jesus for healing.  Jesus touched him and he was immediately healed and went to the priest for ceremonial cleansing.  

 

In Luke 17 we have the story of ten lepers coming to Jesus for healing.  Nine were Jews and one was a Samaritan. Jews who were carried away by the Assyrians in 722 BC and intermarried with them were known as Samaritans.  The Jews discriminated against them as an inferior race of people.

 

When Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem to be crucified, passed through Samaria, He was confronted by these ten lepers who begged for Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus “was moved with compassion” as was the case throughout the Gospels whenever He met needy people, whether physically needy or spiritually needy. The Bible says “He came to seek and to save the lost.”

 

This time, instead of touching the lepers, as He did in the story in Luke 5,  He simply spoke to the lepers.  He said to them, “Go, show yourselves unto the priest.”  The lepers understood that this was something that only healed lepers were to do.   Go and let the priests examine you for any trace of leprosy and if healed, pronounce you ceremonially clean.

 

All ten lepers immediately turned around and in faith that they would be healed, started walking to the priests.  Immediately, they were aware that all trace of leprosy was gone.  They were totally healed of the disease.

 

Nine of those lepers, evidently all Jews, continued their journey to the priests, no doubt rejoicing that they were healed.  The tenth, a despised Samaritan, immediately turned around in his tracks and returned to Jesus, falling down on his face at His feet.  I’m sure you know what He did.  He cried with a loud voice, giving thanks to Jesus, whom He was convinced was God in human flesh.  The Bible says, “He gave thanks to God.”

 

Jesus answering said, “Were there not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine?  There are not found to give glory to God, but this stranger.”  (this outcast Samaritan).  Then Jesus declared,  “Your faith has made you whole.”   The Greek word translated whole  is SOZO.  That word is translated SALVATION throughout the New Testament.   Yes,  the Samaritan was not only healed of His leprosy, but because of His faith in Jesus as the Son of God, He was saved from his sins.  What a day of celebration for this stranger to Israel!  While the nine continued on their journey to the priests for ceremonial cleansing, this poor Samaritan received heart cleansing from all his sins, along with his healing from leprosy.

 

By the way, can you imagine the chagrin of the Jewish priests as they examined these lepers and found them to be totally healed of leprosy and as they learned that Jesus had done it?  Most of the priests and the  Pharisees were enemies of Jesus and would soon be conniving to have Jesus crucified; but these priests were reluctant witnesses of Jesus healing power and of His deity.

 

As it was in Jesus day, so it is today.  The masses of people, immersed in their ceremonialism and  religion, see no need for Jesus as their Saviour.  They reject Jesus as God, believing that, at best,  He was only a great teacher and prophet.  They continue on in their sins facing a Christless eternity in Hell.  A few fall on their faces before Jesus and thank Him for dying on the cross for them, rising again to save them from their sins. Where are  you today?  Are you wrapped up in your ceremony and religion, ignoring Christ who died to save you?  Or are you on your face before Jesus with the despised Samaritan, hearing Jesus say to you, “Your faith has made you whole.  Your faith has saved you!”   Jesus’ death and resurrection saves you.  Your faith simply takes hold of that salvation and makes it yours.

 

I’m so glad that at the age of nine I received by faith this wonderful good news that Jesus died for my sins.  I received Him that night and He saved me instantly and now for over sixty-six years I have had the joy of walking and talking with Jesus as my Lord and best Friend.  I urge you to receive Him by faith this moment.

 

Pray this from your heart,  “Lord Jesus,  I am a sinner, unworthy of your mercy. I believe that you died and rose again to save me from my sins.  This moment, I receive you as my personal Saviour.  Change me by your supernatural power. Cause me to hate my sins and turn from them and give me a heart to read and obey Your Word and do Your will. Lead me to a Church where the Bible is faithfully taught.  I want to grow in the knowledge of God and be what you want me to be.   Thank you, Dear God,  for saving me.”

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April 2, 2008 - Posted by | Thanksgiving

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