Welcome to Becomning Closer! 


Leprosy and Glory

Luke 17:11 -- 19

Lesson audio

It is such a simple story. The great writers seem to have passed over it as having nothing extra to add. But all Scripture is profitable, therefore we shall see if we can profit by this:

While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they? "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well."

(Luk 17:11-19 NASB)

The Leper

Even in our day the word “leper” is used to describe someone (metaphorically) as an outcast from whatever group he is in. The name has earned its reputation:

  • Leprosy (or more properly Hansen’s disease) is a vile disease. Beginning at the forehead it produces decay in the skin and exterior. Slowly, but surely, it destroys the flesh. Along with this it numbs the body so that the decaying flesh is not felt – and there is no tingle of pain to warn the leper of danger. It is not unusual to see fingers and toes fall off in the later stages of the disease. The effect is suitable for a Halloween costume.
  • As if the leper didn’t have enough trouble, most people considered it a sign of God’s judgment. There are several instances of this in the Old Testament. Not only did you become an exile from life in your village, everyone assumed you had earned this treatment by some particularly villainous sin.
  • The leper was required to keep himself covered, especially around the mouth. One of the early symptoms was decay in the area of the lips, which cause the skin over the chin to sag and bare the gum area. He could not approach other people. He was not allowed to move from village to village; he had to stay on the outskirts of his native village. When you add to this the strictness of the inspection for healing, you can see that a leper would be one of the most miserable people in the world.
The lepers’ plea

It is worth our time to examine the actions of these lepers, for they were healed. Perhaps we can see things applicable to our lives today. Such as:

  • They were properly obedient to the Law they knew. They stood at the right distance to shout their plea. Obedience is still a virtue.
  • They “cried out” – the sound of hope to men most hopeless. God urges us to call on His name, to cry out to him, whether leper or not.
  • When Christ tells them to go, they go – in faith. Note that Christ did not heal them immediately; he simply tells them to present themselves to the priest, in accordance with the Law of Moses. They are healed on the way. We are seeing faith being the source of obedience.
Your faith has healed you

They go - but it is not the going that heals, it is the obedience of faith. The actual work of seeing the priest is not the source of healing. We are saved by faith, the grace of God.

Then the curious thing happens. The Samaritan (an outcast among even the Jewish lepers) returns, falls on his face before Jesus and gives glory to God. The Jews do not.

Have you ever wondered about passages that say, “The first shall be last, and the last first?” Here is an example. Christ is sent to the Jews; they come first, as they are the people chosen by God. So this Samaritan sees his own lowliness; but with a heart for God returns. Do you not see how this Samaritan, the last, is now first?

Jesus, the Christ

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. This is a most important journey, for all must be ready at the time of Passover. Jesus came to die for our sins; you can imagine his intensity of focus.

  • He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. It is only when Israel rejects the Holy One that the Gospel can be preached to the world.
  • His mind is set on one place: Jerusalem. It is the center of Judaism, and the place at which he must die.
  • With all this on his mind, he stops for these ten lepers. He gives no instruction to the disciples about this; he just does it.

Do you see how these people presented themselves – as a distraction? He could have dismissed these people. Like this:

  • Look, I’m in a hurry to get to Jerusalem. Catch up with me later.
  • This is not my job. Check with the disciples in a few weeks.
  • Whoops – we have a ten percent problem here. Lose the Samaritan and then we’ll talk.

The amazing thing is that he took the time, rather than the excuses.. The people at hand are hurting; don’t put them on hold.

It brings up some questions for us:

  • Do you take the time, interrupting your schedule, to deal with those who are hurting?
  • Are you your brother’s keeper? Do you care for the hurting around you?
  • Do others need to meet your standards before you’ll consider giving them some help?

But this Samaritan is not done teaching us yet.

No one to give glory, except…

The Samaritan returns alone and gives glory to God. Note that he does not thank Jesus; rather, he gives God the glory. He knows that only God could do this; thinking the man to be a prophet, the Samaritan rightly gives the glory to God.

That’s the question for us. When the Lord is gracious and kind, do we give him the glory for it? Or do we say it was luck, coincidence or skill on our part?

Glory to God

You’ve read that phrase many times; have you ever stopped to ask “what does it mean?” Let’s take a look. It comes highly commended; perhaps we might ask why.

Glory of God

Glory is to God as style is to an artist. But can we see that? How? Where?

  • One place is the planet we’re on – and the stars. We see the artist in the glory of his work.[1]
  • It was seen when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.[2] Again, it is the divine style to “make all things new again.”
  • Indeed, it can be seen in mundane things, for we have Paul’s word for it that all things can be done for the glory of God.[3]
  • The greatest picture of God’s glory is found in his earthly image, Jesus the Christ.[4]
Glory of the church

The bride of the Christ is given glory too. This glory is meant to be seen by us and by others. How?

  • First, in the Scriptures.[5] The Law of Moses was given during a display of God’s glory and power – but the words of Christ are even more glorious.
  • We are to be filled with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”[6] We are the glory of the church, those whose lives rejoice in all things, visible to the world.
  • This joy is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.[7]

The Holy Spirit is connected firmly with the glory of God. Consider:

  • Our salvation comes with eternal glory.[8]
  • Indeed, we are called to that glory.[9]
  • In fact, even the afflictions we bear in this world for Christ will yield glory in the world to come.[10]

But there is more than this to glory.

Glory to come

The time approaches for the return of Christ. This will be the great display of the glory of God. He will not come to us as a meek baby, but in overwhelming power and glory. We shall see it; we shall be part of it.

  • Our bodies, buried to decay will be raised in glory and power.[11]
  • Indeed, Paul tells us we can add to that glory with the fruits of service to him. My students are my glory; I am glory for my teachers too.[12]
  • Perhaps the greatest glory of all is this: at Christ’s return, every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – to the glory of God the Father.[13]

When is he returning? Soon.

[1] Psalm 19:1

[2] John 11:40

[3] 1 Corinthians 10:31

[4] 2 Corinthians 4:6

[5] 1 Corinthians 2:7

[6] 1 Peter 1:18

[7] 2 Corinthians 3:18

[8] 2 Timothy 2:20

[9] 2 Timothy 2:14

[10] 2 Corinthians 4:17

[11] 1 Corinthians 15:43

[12] 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

[13] Philippians 2:11

Previous     Home     Next