The other day I read how one man could tell Thanksgiving is getting near. He said, “When I see the Christmas lights being strung up on the streets and Santas in store windows at the Mall, I know Thanksgiving is around the corner.” Unlike other holidays like Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, and Christmas, the only item stores can promote in November is turkeys. Stores owners haven’t found a way to commercialize and make money on expressing gratitude and thanksgiving.
I recently heard one person on TV say we don’t call the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving anymore—Now it is called “the day before “black Friday.’’ “Black Friday” is now a bigger day than Thanksgiving!
- Thanksgiving is more than a holiday we celebrate—it is a condition of the heart!
- More than a DAY—it is a DUTY.
- Thanksgiving is not an OPTION—It is an OBLIGATION!
- No commands in the Bible to celebrate CHRISTMAS or EASTER, but we are commanded to always give thanks in all things!
In Luke 17 we have a story that is reenacted countless times in society today. It is a story of how most people fail to express thanksgiving.
Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem where He will be crucified before the week is over. Unlike most Jews who avoided Samaria, Jesus purposely passed through a Samaritan village where He is met by 10 lepers.
I. The SHARED problem (vs. 11-12).
A. The COMMON malady — Leprosy, a type of sin (Rom. 3:23).
Sin levels the playing field—Sin puts us all in the same boat. These nine Jewish lepers had no problem being in the same company with a Samaritan leper. Under normal circumstances they would never remain in the presence of a Samaritan. But, as they say, “misery loves company,” and in their miserable condition, their racial differences didn’t matter. They were all dying of the same disease. “Birds of a feather flock together.”
B. The CONDITION of leprosy (v. 12).
1. Leprosy begins on the inside and eventually shows up on the flesh and rapidly spreads and becomes worse.
2. Once it shows up, a leper has only a short time before it kills him. A leper suffers a living death.
3. Live in total isolation in a leper colony (v.12 — “…stood afar off.”). Lev. 13:45-46 says, “And the leper in whom the plague is, …shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.”
Leprosy broke up families and separated friends. The only companions of a leper were other lepers.
4. Incurable/hopeless—Only a miracle could change their condition.
C. The COMPARISON of sin.
1. Like leprosy, sin starts on the inside and manifests itself in the works of the flesh.
2. Like leprosy, sin separates us from God!
3. Like leprosy, sin is fatal (Rom. 6:23). Leprosy destroys the body, but sin destroys both body and soul.
4. Like leprosy, sin is incurable apart from God’s intervention. You cannot cure yourself… a church cannot cure you… a ritual cannot cleanse you from sin. Jesus Christ is the only answer for your sin.
II. The SUPPLICATION for mercy (v. 13).
A. They called Jesus “MASTER.” The word translated “master” means “chief commander.” They believed Jesus was in command of disease and death.
B. They called for MERCY — They did not plead their merits or rights. They did not ask for healing—They cried for mercy.
1. The way to receive God’s help is to come via the door of mercy. God’s ears are always open to a cry for mercy (cf. Luke 18:10-14).
2. This is also true for salvation. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us” (Titus 3:5).
3. They would have not been healed if they did not call. If you want to be saved, you must call—“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).