Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
Sermon Podcast No current service | Search sermon archives:

Home

Doctrinal Statement

Vision Statement

Church History

Sermon Archives

Pictures

> Pastor's Blog

Members Page

Church Calendar

Prayer Concerns

Resources and Links

Contact Us



What's this?

Pastor's Blog

A Leper's Thanksgiving 11/25/2012
Sermon Text: Luke 17:11-19 A Leper's Thanksgiving

As we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving here in our United States of America, and as we approach Advent which is the remembering of, thinking about and rejoicing in the first Advent of Jesus, we have chose a portion of Scripture for meditation concerning the healing that a leper received from Jesus. Our text is found in Luke's Gospel, 17:11-19. Jesus is healing, teaching and preaching as He journeys towards Jerusalem, where He will suffer, die and arise from the grave! While Jesus was here on earth, He was moving towards Jerusalem and the accomplishing of His Father's will in bringing redemption to the world. Previously Luke had written concerning this....

KJV Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

KJV Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

Continually toward Jerusalem, always coming for us, to us, to draw near.....to draw us to Himself...Let us read the text...

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 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.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Even since the beginning in the Garden of Eden after our fall into sin when we moved away from Him, God has desired to draw near us, but we have kept our distance. Here are two references which speak to that...

Genesis 3: 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Mark 14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

Sin and unbelief have caused and do cause us to slink away from our Creator and Redemmer and consequently He has been drawing near to us so that we would come into His presence freely and without fear. In time past He spoke to us by His prophets but in these last times, (New Testament days) He has spoken unto us by His Son. (Hebrews 1:1) He has come near to us, but due to sin and unbelief, we often will stay on the fringes, will worship Him from afar. I remember some years back that a brother told me that the text that brought Him back to the Lord was the verses that I included from Mark 14:53-54. He said that as the preacher was preaching the voice of the Lord came to Him and revealed to him that he was following the Lord from afar off, even as Peter was at this time in his life. The brother told me that as a result of hearing the Lord speak to him, he was drawn back into a closer fellowship with Jesus.

As we gather in worship and fellowship each Sunday, it is always good to be reminded that the first thing we should think on in a text of Scripture is to consider what it says about God and His heart for humanity. We need to remember that the entire letter that God has written to all mankind is a letter of promise and fulfillment of His saving grace and truth. We have separated ourselves, but He has come after us in order to redeem us unto Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. In our text today, He drew near to ten lepers, but only one seemed to grasp who Jesus was and of His saving grace. As we think today not on the nine who did not return, but on the one that did, perhaps it would be helpful to look at this account through the eyes of the leper.


"For years I have been alone, for no one can touch me, hold me, console, pray with me. I am alone. Not my wife! Not my child! Not my friends! No one has touched me! They see me. They have spoken to me. I even sensed the love in their voices. I saw concern in their faces as they talked. But there was no touch. Not once! No one touched me! They keep their distance, and I am very lonely in my pain and hurt.

What is common to you, I want. Handshakes, a friendly conversation, a warm hug. A tap on the shoulder. A kiss on the lips. Such moments have been taken from my world. No one touched me! When anyone comes near me, they are very careful not to brush up against me. What I would have given to have been bumped into to be caught in the crowd. For my shoulder to brush someone elses. But years it has not happened.

How could it! I am not allowed on the streets. I am not permitted in my own synagogue. Not even welcome in my own house. I was untouchable. A LEPER. And no one touched me........ until today.


Here is the story of my life in the past..
One year during the harvest, my grip on the scythe seemed weak. The tips of my fingers numbed. First one finger, then another. Within a short time I could grip the tool but not feel it. By the end of the season, I felt nothing at all. I said nothing to my wife, but I knew she suspected something! How could she not. I carried this hand against my wounded body like a wounded bird.


One afternoon I put my hands in the wash basin to wash my face. The water turned red. My finger was bleeding. I didn’t know I was wounded. How did I cut myself? On a knife? Did my hand slide across the sharp edge and me not feel it? It must have, but I didn’t feel anything! “It’s on your clothes, too,” my wife said softly. Before looking at her, I looked down and saw my clothes. BLOOD. I knew my life was changed.


“Shall I go with you to tell the priest?” she said. “No, I’ll go alone.”


I turned and looked into her eyes. She had started crying. Standing next to her was our three-year-old daughter. I squatted down and touched her cheek. I stood up and with my good hand I touched my wife. It would be our final touch.


Time has passed and no one has touched me since...... until today. The priest had not touched my bleeding hand when I went to him with my bleeding hand. He looked at my hand wrapped in cloth. He looked in my face. I never faulted him for what he said. He was just doing his job. He extended his hand, palm forward and said, ‘YOU ARE UNCLEAN.” With one sentence he made me know that I had lost everything my family, my farm, my future, and my friends.


My wife met me at the city gates with a sack of clothing and bread and coins. She didn’t speak. My friends had gathered. What I saw in their eyes is what I have seen since pity! As I stepped out, they stepped back.


Oh, how I repulsed those who saw me. Years of leprosy had left my hands gnarled and the tips of my fingers were missing as were portions of my nose and left ear. At the sight of me, people would pick up their kids and head in the other direction. Children pointed and stared. I could not hide my sores with my clothes they were too many. The clothes could not hide the rage in my eyes either.


Many nights I just shook my fist and yelled, “Why me, what did I do?” But never a reply. Some think that I sinned. Some think it was my parents’ sin. I don’t know. All that I know was that I was tired of it all. I grew tired of the bell that I had to wear around my neck to let people know about me. As if I needed it. One look at me and it began ‘UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN.”


Several weeks ago, I walked to my village. I could still see them working in the fields. I hoped I could see her, my wife, but she was not anywhere that I could see. I could see kids playing and... and for a moment... just a moment... I forgot about myself and watched with enjoyment. I was no longer a leper just a farmer, a man, a father.

I was so enjoying their happiness that I stepped out from behind the tree and it happened: “LEPER, LEPER, GOOOO AWAY.” I left as quickly as I could, trying to get away rapidly.



But one day, oh do I remember The Day, when everything changed. I cry in thankfulness yet today when I think about it. ........We were standing together, afar off from the rest of the people, when we saw Him.We saw the big crowd around Him, we saw them listening, so from a distance, we all cried to Him, lifting up our voices, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. There was a great silence, as the crowds waited to see what was going to happen.

Many cried: Unclean, Unclean, but Jesus did not join in with that cry. Instead, looking on us with compassion, He told us to go show ourselves to the priests.....As we walked towards the place where the priests were, we were all healed of our leprosy.......I could not help but turn back to the One who had told us to go to the priests. The other nine kept on going, but how could I not return to this Jesus and fall on my face before this Jesus, with a loud voice giving glory to God???? How could I not be thankful for Jesus? So many have rejected me because I am a foreigner, but this Man Jesus has healed me!!! I thank Him, I praise Him, I love Him....

Then I heard Jesus ask a question about the ten that He had healed and who had been cleansed of leprosy. As I was alone before him on my knees overcome with thankfulness for my white and clean body, I heard him ask as to the whereabouts of the other nine. I heard him say that they have not returned to give the glory to God, and I heard him refer to me at his feet as one who had come back to give thanks.

KJV Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Then he spoke directly to me: "Arise, go your way, because you believe in me you are clean and whole.
I am clean, I am forgiven, I have hope, I have my family back, I have friends who now hug me again, I have those who truly care about me now, they take time for me now........they truly love me.

Are we in the pain of loneliness, isolation, rejection like the leper was before He received the "touch" of Jesus? Do we need a fresh touch of Jesus? Do we need the refreshment of repentance and honesty before Him and with others? Are we bitter because of life's circumstances?

Have we forgotten the love that He has for us, and have been looking for His love in the wrong places? Have we lost the joy of gathering together with His people? Are we longing for His touch of compassion, of tenderness, of love today? Are we struggling with our past? Our present? Our future?

He is near today, He is listening for our cry to Him so that He might show mercy and forgiveness to us. May we come before Him in humility and honesty with a broken and contrite heart, a needy heart, for with such hearts God is well pleased.

May we be encouraged by this following account of another person who called out to the Lord in his time of need.

Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

He is near today......Call out to Him, believing.....He will come to you...to give you life, eternal life.

May His grace be upon us today and forever, amen!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 25 Nov 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Comments: 0 Read and add comments
Name:
E-mail: (optional)

| Forget Me
Make comment form longer

Blog archives...


Deprecated: Function eregi() is deprecated in /home/cws_user/kingstonalc.com/cutenews/show_news.php on line 41

Deprecated: Function eregi() is deprecated in /home/cws_user/kingstonalc.com/cutenews/inc/shows.inc.php on line 63

Deprecated: Function eregi() is deprecated in /home/cws_user/kingstonalc.com/cutenews/inc/shows.inc.php on line 63

Deprecated: Function eregi() is deprecated in /home/cws_user/kingstonalc.com/cutenews/inc/shows.inc.php on line 63

Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/cws_user/kingstonalc.com/library/inc/_cws_functions.php on line 9
12/13 6:00 p.m.:Soup, Sandwic...
12/20 7:00 p.m.:Advent Service
12/24 9:00 pm:Christmas Eve S...
12/25 10:20 a.m.:Christmas Da...
1/7 Sunday Evening:Pastor's C...
See Full Calendar...


Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/cws_user/kingstonalc.com/library/inc/_cws_functions.php on line 9
Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob
Read more...