Lately I’ve been counting my blessings as I’ve been privileged to see God answer prayer in so many ways. Those of you who are connected by Facebook to Sylvia’s page have seen several testimonies of God’s wonderful grace. The one from Kamloops of the young lady who clearly doesn’t know Jesus but was prayed for anyways sticks out in my mind as I write this. She speaks of her chronic pain that has been with her for some time now. A man in the video offers to pray for her knee and she agrees.
What happens next is one of those ah ha moments! Let’s watch and see.
Sharing the gospel with signs and dare I say miracles? A simple act of prayer brings relief to chronic pain! Awesome right? Was it lasting relief? We don’t know but what was lasting was the word that went forth with this act of faith. The gospel message delivered as pain relief.
We want to see more of that Lord Jesus. See more of you in action through your disciples who choose to simply obey your great commission to go and spread the good news.
In this next video check out this guy’s response. He thinks it’s a trick or some sort of reverse psychology.
During the service at Grace I asked Pastor Peter Harris to share what happend to him two weeks ago at our city wide celebration service in Penticton. Listen to his response:
Mark 16:15-18 says, (NIV) “Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation… place your hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
We actually prefer the Great Commission found in Matthew and refer to it more because frankly this one in Mark gets a bit messy. But on the plus side you actually get to “do things” while preaching the good news.
Where I’ve placed those three periods conveniently leaves out much of the messiness of Mark’s go statement, much but not all. It still takes some faith in action. And as you heard from our speaker last week “actions often speak louder than words”. The actions this passage calls for is the laying on of hands for the expressed purpose of healing the sick.
Yes that part of the great commission in Mark is uncomfortable. But nearly as what comes between the dots.
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:15-18).
Are you a Christian according to Mark’s description? Drank any deadly poison lately? So maybe, just maybe, this commission recorded in Mark isn’t prescriptive. Perhaps parts of it are more descriptive of what those that believe and are baptized have experienced since Christ uttered those words.
Yet having witnessed many of the things mentioned here has certainly made me very grateful of what Jesus is doing in and through his people.
We came across this sign on the Similkameen Trail down in Oroville.
Sage advice whether you are a believer or not. But as Mark stated we know that God can choose to minimize the effects of even deadly snake bites. Like when Paul moved that log and the viper bite him. The people who saw it hanging on his hand thought he was a murderer having escaped a shipwreck only to be bitten by a deadly snake. He just shakes it off into the fire. And when the venom did nothing to him they began thinking he was a god.
The story goes on to say, “7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured” (Acts 28:7-9 (NIV). Paul was not only telling the good news about Jesus he was showing it to them!
And how did these folks respond to the show and tell? Acts 28:10 says, “They honoured us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed” (Acts 28:10 (NIV). In a word they were thankful because they received the gospel in word and deed! But not everyone who sees or experiences the power of God in action is thankful to God. Take the folks in our passage for today. Ten of them will receive healing from the Master but only one comes back and says thanks.
Luke 17:11-19. Turn with me there see for yourself.
“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19 (NIV).
As we come to this passage Jesus and the disciples are still on there way to Jerusalem for the final show down. We are not told which town it was that these events happened only that it was on the border between unbelief and faith, between foreigners and friends. Scholars place the event happening just prior to when Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. In fact, they say it was while Jesus was at this town that he received the news that his friend was sick unto death or deathly ill. Those events are found in John 11.
This was in keeping with the ordinances handed down by Moses for those with leprosy or other skin diseases. We’ve already looked at those laws this spring so I won’t take time for them now. They are found in Leviticus chapter 13.
Leprous people were considered unclean and even casual contact with their clothing would make someone unclean. So they saw Jesus and shouted from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (13)
The Bible Exposition Commentary states, “The word translated “master” is the same one Peter used (Luke 5:5) and means “chief commander.” They knew that Jesus was totally in command of even disease and death, and they trusted Him to help them” (Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Courageous (Luke 14-24)).
Is there a disease that Jesus can’t heal? Well kind of… Jesus does not seem to go against a person’s free will. So it is very likely that an unbeliever who is sick unto death will not be healed if they don’t want to be. In fact, if you choose to remain in your unbelief right up to the moment of your death, Jesus will let you suffer the consequences of your actions. But that doesn’t mean He will not have tried again and again for you to choose to “call on the name of the Lord and be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
He’ll even allow you to be snatched from the fire itself so long as you still have the breath of God within you.
That’s why Jude told believers to, “ Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:22-23 (NIV).
Clothing stained by corrupt flesh…that’s an apt description of the folks who called out to Jesus that morning. The fact that they congregated outside of the town shows us that they had learned and chose to obey laws concerning those with leprosy. That they didn’t run up to Jesus shows they respected him enough to keep their distance.
Jesus did not touch or in anyway physically come in contact with these men. He merely gave them one instruction which they took as a promise. “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
“And as they went!” (14) Don’t miss that little detail here. God expected them to do something if they were to receive their request. They had to apply faith. Faith is not passive it is active. And when it is active things happen.
Like Naaman whose story is found in 2 Kings 5:1-14 (NIV)
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram…He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy”. To make a long story short, he finds out that there is a prophet in Israel who can heal him and so he goes there with silver and gold, and other precious things to buy some healing. And all seemed good until he met Elisha. A man who couldn’t be bought but simply offered cleansing. All Naaman would have to do is wash himself in the Jordan. A simple step of obedience.
I’ll pick up the narrative in 2 Kings 5:10, “Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed. But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy” (10-11). He wanted the show along with the tell. So he stormed off angry. Fortunately for him cooler heads prevailed and he was convinced to do as he was told. And when he washed in the river Jordan he was cleansed.
Jesus didn’t use omniscience to look at each person to determine which would become true believers before healing one. He simply gave them all the same command that they were longing to hear. “Go show yourself to the Priests” It was their job to pronounce the lepers clean. And that meant the lepers would be reunited with their loved ones. Able to worship at the temple. Wear clothes that didn’t stink of corrupt flesh! They went and they were healed. Case closed.
Or at least it would have been except there was that one do-gooder in their midst! The “one.., that when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice” (15). He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him” (16). He’d maybe heard that it was possible to recover from leprosy but now he knew what it was to be clean and he was so thankful.
He was incredibly thankful to God for the miracle that had taken place. And he made sure that Jesus knew it. But were there not ten peopled healed? Why was this guy the only one of ten that came back?
And Luke adds, “–and he was a Samaritan” (16). He says it as though we should sit up and take notice. We don’t know if the other nine were Samaritans or not. Though the old saying, “misery loves company” likely fits even if the nine were God’s chosen race. Jews and Samaritans looked alike and were distantly related. But Samaritan’s were hated foreigners whose intermarriage and opposition to repatriation after Babylonian captivity made them a stench to the Jews. And the feeling was mutual according to Luke 9:52-54. So to the Jew, Samaritans were not supposed to be recipients of God’s mercy. Disdain maybe, avoidance…usually …but clearly this man was an exception. Why?
Was he the good Samaritan? The one Jesus had taught about that did things that one would expect of God’s chosen people, or at least the priests but was only done by a faithful Samaritan?
We don’t know but we do know that Jesus was less than impressed with those other nine men. They are fortunate that He didn’t do to them what happened to the servant of Elisha who tried to make a few bucks on the side from Naaman. He got way more than he bargained for! Gold, silver, sets of clothes and all of Naaman’s leprosy to boot!
But the grateful Samaritan was double blessed by Jesus for His gratitude shown. And the other nine? Well lets just say that they missed out on that added blessing.
Think back to the last time you experienced God’s blessing did you shout out praise to God or just continue on with whatever was next on your agenda? Did you show gratitude or indifference? One out of ten came back to Jesus and fell at his feet in worship. Was that you?
Maybe we have a little more room for praise within us or a little catch up to do? I have a solution for that. Let’s stand together and give thanks like a grateful Psalmist.
I’ll read the verses that start with leader and you can read the others.
Psalm 103:1-22 (NIV)
Let’s dig deeper into this Passage:
- Can you think of a time that you did something special for someone and they went out of their way to say thanks, how did that make you feel?
- Does God heal today like He did in Bible times? Why or why not?
- Read Luke 17:11-19 in more than one version if possible.
- Where do the events of this passage happen? (Luke 17:11) (See Luke 9:51-53; 13:22; Jn. 4:4)
- Who are the people involved? (Luke 17:12) And who else was there?
- What did the people want that cried out to Jesus? (Luke 17:13; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 3:4-5)
- Why did they call out from a distance? (Luke 17:12; Leviticus 13:45 see also Leviticus 13-14 for laws concerning infectious diseases).
- What did Jesus tell them? (Luke 17:14) Why? (Lev. 13:2)
- What happened to the ten men when they did what they were told? (Luke 17:14)
- What did one of the men do that the others didn’t? (Luke 17:15; Psalm 29:1-2; 50:23; ) Why didn’t they? (perhaps 2 Chronicles 32:24-26 gives a hint).
- Why does Luke mention that the one man was a Samaritan? (Luke 17:16; see also Luke 9:53)
- How did Jesus respond to the fact that nine out of ten were ungrateful? (Luke 17:17-18; Rom. 1:21; Isaiah 42:12)
- What did Jesus say made the man well? (Luke 17:19) (See also Luke 7:50; Luke 8:48; Luke 18:42; Matthew 9:22; Mark 10:52)
- How ought we respond to the work of Jesus in our life? (Luke 17:17)
- What should you do when you need healing or a touch from the Lord? (Luke 17:13)
- Who do you need to tell today about what God has done for you? What’s holding you back?