Sermon Title: Where are the other 9?
Text: Luke 17:11-19
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up 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 went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19, ESV).
The location “between Samaria and Galilee” (v 11)—especially Samaria—was an area that most Jews avoided. The Jews and Samaritans had a long history of ethnic and theological strife, and they consequently avoided one other. Not coincidentally, then, it was there that Jesus ran into ten outcasts—ostracized from society because they were afflicted with the highly contagious and completely incurable neurological disease of leprosy. [See Leviticus 13 for regulations concerning leprosy.]
He told them to fulfill the Levitical command to go show themselves to the priests who could officially welcome them back into society as free of leprosy, and as they went they were healed. Luke focuses our attention on how the ten responded when they realized their skin was clean. Only one turned back to Jesus to thank him, while the other nine presumably went on their way to the priest.
The story teaches us about gratitude. In the Bible, leprosy represents sin. All of us have been “afflicted” with sin and are therefore unworthy of being in God’s presence (Rom 3:23; 6:23), but by his mercy Jesus has healed and cleansed us. Are we grateful? Do we praise him? Or are we so busy with the distractions and obligations of life that we often forget?
- How can our class pray for you, a friend, or a loved one?
Start Reading (read Luke 17:11-19)
- What questions or observations do you have from reading the text? What’s one thing you remember from the sermon?
- What do you know about leprosy? What were the physical consequences? The social consequences?
- What does Leviticus 13 say about how lepers are to be treated in order to protect the health and purity of the rest of society?
- What are some of the parallels between leprosy and sin?
- What other examples from Jesus’ life do you remember where he reached out to social outcasts? What does that teach us?
- Stan shared a number of possible reasons why the nine might not have turned back to thank Jesus. What are some of those possibilities?
- Why do we often forget to thank God for everything that he has done for us? What excuses do we offer?
- Do you often complain? How are complaining and gratitude related?
- When you leave here tonight, what specific things can you do to be more like the one and less like the nine?
- Beyond just thanking God with our words in prayer, how can we live lives of gratitude?
Start Praying (ACTS acronym)
- Adoration: Praise God for being a God who heals.
- Confession: Confess that we sometimes complain and grumble and forget to thank him.
- Thanksgiving: Thank God for forgiving us of the worst kind of “leprosy.”
- Supplication: Ask God to help everyone in this class to live grateful lives when we leave church tonight.