Published: 12:05 am, Sun. Aug. 9th, 2015
“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off… (Luke 17:12).”
Their condition was leprosy and their need was cleansing. Its effects on the body were devastating and apparent for all to see.
It was a hopeless condition in Jesus day. Once a person contracted leprosy, he was driven from family and friends. He had to live a separated life with other lepers. His leprosy was not only a physical disease, but a social and spiritual condition.
In that sense sin is like leprosy. And like leprosy it must not only be healed, but also cleansed. Like lepers, the sinner is in need of healing, cleansing, and restoration. That which keeps the sinner from help is not found in these lepers. The lepers were very aware of their problem and need. They heard that the Savior passed that way and went to meet Jesus. Wretched sinner will you part from your sin and go to Jesus?
Notice the actions of these lepers. When they met Jesus they “…stood afar off.” They knew the defilement of their condition and they knew what the law said. “And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and 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 (Leviticus 13:45, 46).” Likewise, the sinner in his sin dwells alone in his sin, separated from the godly, and is the companion of other sinners like himself. Though he may say that he is as good as any, he knows within himself that he is a poor and wretched sinner.
Although there must be some comfort in having others that share the same malady, these lepers were not satisfied in remaining in exile and misery due to their common disease. They came to the Savior. “And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us (Luke 17:13).” No matter what sin characterizes the sinner, when he comes to himself (Luke 15:17), and see his sin as exceedingly sinful (Romans 7:13), and its consequences devastating to both soul and body (Romans 6:23), there is only One that can bring cleansing and pardon (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). That One is Jesus.
The promises of scripture are clear, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37)”, and “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).” The sinner’s condition is not hopeless, because, despite the greatness of the sin, we have a great Savior Who is Jesus Christ the Lord.
Our great and wonderful Savior is willing and able to come to the aid of all those that come to Him in faith. “And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed (Luke 17:14).” What the lepers were told to do by Jesus was in obedience to the teaching in Leviticus chapter 14.
Involved in the cleansing process were sacrifices, shed blood, and washings. Jesus is our Sacrifice and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (Acts 13:39). Baptism is a testimony, not that it cleanses the sinner, but that Jesus has made him clean already, just like He did for the lepers He sent to see the priest (1 Peter 3:21).
What should be the response of one that is cleansed by Jesus?
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan (Luke 17:15, 16).” Every sinner that is cleansed of his sin by Jesus knows that from that day forward he lives to glorify God and serve Jesus as his Lord.
Why are there so many that profess that Christ has saved them, but in every way they live as though nothing ever happened and that Jesus means nothing to them? So many false converts prove themselves such by their indifference to live in thankful obedience to Jesus. Those that are truly touched and healed by Jesus of their sin and shame can’t help but to live for Him. This former leper, a despised Samaritan is commended by Jesus (Luke 17:17-18), but what of the other nine?
But for the Samaritan that returned to thank the Lord for what He had done, we have the blessing of Jesus. “And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole (Luke 17:19).” The leper was saved from his leprosy by faith in Jesus.
I am sure that he went on his way, rejoicing and giving witness to everyone what Jesus had done for him. My lost friend, won’t you come to Jesus in faith to be saved and made whole? Repent, and put your faith in your only Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord.
If you have any questions, we invite you to visit with us this Sunday. Bible study is at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:50 a.m.
We are located at 711 W. Washington Ave. Visit online at mercyatcalvary.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Smith is the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.)