Series 18


by Francis Dixon

(Scripture Portion: Luke 17:11-19)

Luke is the only Evangelist who records the cleansing of the ten lepers by our Lord on His journey to Jerusalem – look up Mark 10:32. In normal circumstances these men would not have been together, for some were Jews and some were Samaritans – look up John 4:9; but when people are in trouble they are often thrown together, which had happened in this case. These men stood “at a distance” (verse 12), and when they saw the Lord they cried out to Him for mercy (verse 13). He commanded them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests” (verse 14), and as they obeyed they were cleansed. One man returned to thank the Lord (verses 15-16), but the other nine were not heard of again (verse 17). The man who returned to give thanks received a very special word of assurance from the Lord (verse 19). Five simple lessons emerge from this incident.

1. No-one has ever called on the Lord Jesus for help and called in vain.

Look at verse 13. Their cry was earnest, for even a leper may be sure of the Lord’s help. Thank God, no-one is too bad, too sinful, too diseased or in too great a difficulty to call upon Him and receive His gracious blessing. He is no respecter of persons. Here were Jews and Samaritans – look up Romans 10:11-13. Whether our trouble is a personal, domestic, financial, business, physical, moral or spiritual one, if we will call upon Him He will undertake for us. Indeed, He gives us a special promise about this – look up Psalm 50:15. Just as He saw these lepers (verse 14), so He can see us, you, and He waits to be gracious; you cannot call in vain – look up Psalm 34:6 and 19.

2. The Lord does not deal with everyone in the same way.

Verse 14 tells us how Jesus dealt with these ten men, which was in accordance with Leviticus 14:2-4. What He said in effect was, “The priests have condemned you for being lepers; if you believe that I can heal you, and am healing you, go and show yourselves that they may see that you are healed.” In contrast to all this, read of the Lord’s healing of the one leper in Luke 5:12-14. He did not send that man to the priests, but He cleansed him in a moment by the power of His word and His touch. Then also, think of Naaman, who before he was cleansed had to dip in Jordan seven times – look up 2 Kings 5:14! The lesson here is that in the whole matter of salvation the Lord is sovereign, and in no two cases does He work alike. For example, compare His dealings with Nicodemus (John 3) and the woman at the well (John 4); or again, compare His dealings with the Queen’s treasurer (Acts 8), Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9) and Cornelius (Acts 10). How different were the experiences of these people! There is only one way to God – look up John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; but there are very many ways to Christ.

3. Spiritual blessing only and always comes in the pathway of obedience.

Verse 14 tells us that our Lord said, “Go…show yourselves…”, and “as they went, they were cleansed.” They took Jesus at His word, and they received the blessing that He waited to bestow upon them which they needed so much. The operative words here are: “as they went…” In other words, as they obeyed, they were cleansed. If we would experience a fullness of spiritual blessing we can only have that wish met as we are willing to do what the Lord says.

What are the commands of the gospel that are clearly set out in the Word of God?

  1. 1. COME – Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 11:28; John 6:37; Revelation 22:17.
  2. 2. REPENT – Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; Romans 2:4.
  3. 3. FORSAKE – Isaiah 55:7; Matthew 5:29; Romans 13:14; 2 Corinthians 7:1.
  4. 4. BELIEVE – John 3:16; Acts 13:39; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8.
  5. 5. CONFESS – Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 6:13; 1 John 4:2.
  6. 6. BE BAPTISED – Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 8:38; 10:48.
  7. 7. GATHER AT THE LORD’S TABLE – Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:42; 20:7;
    1 Corinthians 11:23-28.

The measure of our obedience to the Lord determines the measure of His blessing experienced and enjoyed in our lives – look up John 2:5, and compare Acts 9:6.

4. Considering all that the Lord Jesus has done for us, the very least we can do is to thank Him and give our lives in full surrender to Him.

Look at verses 15-16. It was natural to return and give thanks, yet nine men did not return. If you were a leper and Jesus cured you, could you ever thank Him enough for His compassion and mercy? Have you ever thanked Him for leaving Heaven for you (2 Corinthians 8:9); for coming to Bethlehems manger for you (Luke 2:7); for living those silent years at Nazareth for you (Luke 2:51); for standing in Jordans waters for you (Matthew 3:13-17); for triumphing in the wilderness for you (Matthew 4:11); for His three years of public ministry for you (Acts 10:38); and for all that He endured in Gethsemane and accomplished on Calvary for you (Luke 22:44; 1 Peter 2:24)? Have you thanked Him, not in word only but by the dedication of your life to His service? Notice some of the things for which the apostle Paul gave thanks: redemption (2 Corinthians 9:15); deliverance (Romans 7:25); service (1 Timothy 1:12); victory (1 Corinthians 15:57); kindness (2 Corinthians 8:16); obedience (Romans 6:17); fellowship (2 Timothy 1:3).

5. It is only when we definitely come to the Lord and thank Him for all that He has done for us that we have His word of assurance.

Look at verse 19. It is one thing to be cleansed, forgiven and saved, but it is another thing to know it. Do you know it? The way to be sure about these things is to do what this one leper did – verse 15; then the Lord, through the channel of our faith, makes us whole – verse 19!