June 4, 2017

The Transformation of Our Humiliation

Luke 17:11-21 (NASB)

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.” Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

As we divided Luke 17, some felt we should begin with v. 11 and end with v. 19. The story of the 10 Lepers seemingly has nothing to do with vs. 20-21. But, after closer examination, you will see that the Kingdom of God has everything to do with Jesus healing of the 10 Lepers (only recorded in Luke). “Having been questioned” (v. 20 past tense) about the Kingdom, He says, “Behold, the Kingdom is in your midst” (v. 21).

  1. God’s Kingdom is all about Jesus meeting sinners (lepers) where they are.
    “Ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him…” (v.12).
    1. Leprosy is a very vivid picture of a life damaged by one’s poor choices.
      The term “leprosy” (including leper, lepers, leprosy, leprous) occurs 68 times in the Bible—55 times in the Old Testament (Hebrew = tsara’ath) and 13 times in the New Testament (Greek = lepros, lepra). In the Old Testament, the instances of leprosy most likely meant a variety of infectious skin diseases and even mold and mildew on clothing and walls. Leprosy was considered a curse of God and associated with sin. It did not kill, but neither did it seem to end. Instead, it lingered for years, causing the tissues to degenerate and deforming the body.
      1. The leprosy of sin brings isolation.
        The leper was barred (by law) from the assembly in the Temple and from the congregation.
      2. The leprosy of sin brings humiliation.
        The leper (by law) had to stand at a distance from people and shout “unclean, unclean.”
      3. The leprosy of sin brings degradation.
        The leprosy bacillus destroys nerve endings that carry pain signals; therefore, patients with advanced leprosy experience a total loss of physical pain. When these people cannot sense touch or pain, they injure themselves or can be unaware of injury caused by outside agents
    2. Jesus is interested in people whose lives have been damaged by their sin.
      “Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee (on His way to Jerusalem)” (v. 11). This is an uncommon route. Most people avoided at all costs the border with Samaria. Not Jesus. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of full acceptance, Christ came to save sinners” (I Tim. 4:9).
       
  2. God’s Kingdom is all about Jesus transforming sinners (lepers) into something new.
    The idea that God saves sinners but leaves sinners in their sin is contrary to the Scripture (Matt. 1:21).
    1. Transformation commences with recognition.
      “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (v. 13). You don’t need deliverance until you see danger.
    2. Transformation continues through faith.
      “And as they were going, they were cleansed” (v. 14). Going where? To the priests to “show themselves.” In the Law of the Hebrews, the leper went to the priest not to be healed, but for the priest to declare “You have been healed.” You will never experience the power of Jesus Christ till you live “believing Jesus will change you.”
    3. Transformation culminates with thanksgiving.
      Only one returned to give thanks to Jesus. Were the other nine delivered? Yes. However, one of the evidences of a total transformation of your life is an attitude of gratitude to the Savior.
       
  3. God’s Kingdom is all about Jesus challenging sinners (lepers) to see others transformed.
    “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the Kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst” (vs. 20-21).

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.