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Cleansing of the Leper

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2023 12:01 am

Cleansing of the Leper

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 19, 2023 12:01 am

In His great mercy, the Lord restores the broken and the unclean. How could we not give Him thanks? Continuing his exposition of Luke's gospel, today R.C. Sproul considers how the cleansed leper instructs to respond to God's grace in our lives.

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Hi, this is Nathan W Bingham. Before we get to today's edition of Renewing Your Mind, I wanted to ask, would you consider joining Ligonier Ministries in prayer, in praying for an awakening? There are billions of souls on this earth who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. And as Christians, we know that lives will not be changed unless the Lord, by his Spirit, awakens people to the truth of who he is and their need for a Savior. To help you pray for awakening, we produced a free prayer guide, and you can request your copy by visiting And as you commit to pray each week, you'll be joining thousands of other Christians who are thankful that God has graciously promised to hear our prayers and confident to know that he'll answer them according to his will.

Thank you. See, beloved, it's one thing to be grateful. It's something altogether to show it, to manifest it, to do gratitude.

Feeling and doing are not the same thing. As we read the New Testament, we encounter lepers and Samaritans, other people or customs that can be a little bit hard to relate to, sometimes even leading us to wonder, why were these encounters with Jesus recorded for us today? It's a question that many of us find ourselves asking. Hi, I'm Nathan W. Bingham, and thank you for joining us for this Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind. Each Lord's Day, we're continuing a sermon series with R.C. Sproul as he takes us through the Gospel of Luke, messages recorded at St. Andrew's Chapel here in central Florida. And today, he's going to detail an extraordinary encounter with Jesus, a story that's not merely about ten lepers, but is actually about you and me.

Here's Dr. Sproul. Let's get on with the text, which is today, chapter 17, and I'm reading from verse 11 to 19. I would ask the congregation please to stand for the reading of the Word of God. Now it happened as he went to Jerusalem that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as he entered a certain village, there met him ten men who were lepers who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices, and they said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And so when he saw them, he said to them, Go, show yourselves to the priests. And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned and with a loud voice glorified God and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, Were there not ten cleansed?

There are the nine. Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner? And he said to him, Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well. Beloved, this is a precious text that has a negative aspect to it. But before we come to that, the positive dimension of this passage is simply marvelous. And I hope that we will see the beauty and truth of this text in our time together this morning.

Please be seated. Let us pray. Again, our Father and our God, without you we have nothing, and yet all that we have that is good has come to us from your hand. Help us now to understand the depth and the riches of this passage that we've just heard, for we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen. Luke begins this passage by telling us of an event that took place when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. He tells us that on His travels He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

Now that in itself was unusual. We know that the Scriptures teach us that there was this hostile relationship between Jews and Samaritans, and the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. And the hostility was so deeply rooted that characteristically the Jews, when they wanted to go from Judea up to Galilee, instead of going the shortest route, which would take them directly through Samaria, they crossed the Jordan to Transjordan and went up the desert road bypassing Samaria to get to Galilee, and the same coming back. They would go out of their way to avoid going through Samaria.

But Jesus went against that convention and decided to go directly through Samaria. And we read in verse 12, as He entered a certain village, He met ten men who were lepers who stood afar off. Now we know, of course, that once you had been diagnosed with leprosy in ancient Israel, you suffered the worst of all possible kinds of quarantines.

Not a quarantine that would last a week or were two weeks, but it would be a quarantine that would last for the rest of your life, unless by some marvelous means you were cured of that leprosy. You were sentenced to a solitary life removed from the community, removed from your family, removed from the religious institutions of your day. You were a social pariah, and the only fellowship that you could have with other human beings would be with other lepers. And so there were reasons why lepers gathered together in groups such as this group of ten because that was the only companionship that they could possibly enjoy. And here in this area on the border between Galilee and Samaria, there was a road there, a commercial highway that brought people from different nations, not just Jews and Samaritans, but an international group of people. And so we know from this text that these ten lepers were made up of at least people who were Jews and Samaritans, but also probably people from other countries.

And this was, as I said, the only fellowship that they could enjoy was with other miserable human beings. And now, as they are outside the village and Jesus approached, while they were standing afar off, they lifted up their voices and said, they didn't just say it, they screamed it because Jesus was at a distance, and so they shouted out to Him, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Now the first question that should come to our mind is, does this holiday even know who Jesus was? They didn't have cell phones, they didn't have radios or television, and they didn't have daily interaction with healthy people. So how did they even get the news of Jesus?

Well, I think we can answer that easily. What Jesus did in Galilee, in Judea, and even in Samaria were things that the world had never seen before. There was a blaze of miracles that followed in the trail of Jesus, and that kind of ministry spread in terms of its news like wildfire through every inch of the territory. Maybe somebody came to the limits of communication to the leopards and shouted out to Him, there's a man named Jesus. He's raising people from the dead.

He's making the blind see the deaf hear and the lame to walk and leap with joy. Watch for Him. Maybe someday He'll come this way. Here's what He looks like. There's always a group following Him.

We call Him Master. I don't know how they heard of Him, but how could they not have heard of Him given who He was and what He was doing. And so the day they dreamed of, the day they prayed for took place when in the distance, here He was. It's Jesus. You can hear them talking to each other.

You can feel their excitement. Here He comes. He's here.

Look over there. That's Jesus. He raises people from the dead.

Maybe He can heal us. So they didn't whisper. They screamed to Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Now the response of Jesus here is quite unusual. On the other occasions where we see people who are afflicted and suffering coming up to Him, Jesus will reach over and touch them and heal them, lay His hands upon them, or even in the moment just say, be clean. And instantly they were healed.

That's not how He did it this time. He said when He saw them, He said to them, go show yourselves to the priests. A citation from the book of Leviticus where it was the priest who was authorized to make the diagnosis in the first place of leprosy, and if a person were recovering or if it was a false diagnosis, it would take the priest's declaration to free them from the quarantine. So Jesus didn't say, be clean. They were healed. He said, go, go see the priests, which meant what? This is not an idle mission.

It's not a fool's errand. If I tell you to go see the priests, I'm telling you to go check yourselves out, and you will be clean. Now obviously they hadn't been cleansed yet, but they obeyed, and they started to go to visit the priest in obedience to the command of Jesus. And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. Again, not when they just first saw Jesus, but after they started on their journey to see the priests while they were walking along the road, all of a sudden their fingers are becoming whole, their toes are being healed, and the horrible sores on their body were vanishing. And one leper would say to the other, look at my hand. It's clean. And the other one would say, mine too.

It's happening. And they were beyond themselves with joy and excitement as their bodies were being cleansed with every step they took on their way to the priests. But one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned.

Imagine ten lepers in a group watching each other suddenly being made whole. They can't wait to get to the priests because they know if they go to the priests and the priests pronounce them clean, then in that moment they can go home again. They can see their wives again. They can embrace their children again.

They can go to church again. So they say, let's go. Hurry up. And one says, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait. We're clean, aren't we?

Yes. It was Jesus who made us clean. We've got all day to see the priests, but first we have to go back and see Him and thank Him and honor Him.

The rest of the lepers says, we don't have time for that. And the first one, aren't you grateful? Grateful? How can you not be grateful? I'm sure all ten of them were grateful. No question that they were grateful. You can't be healed of leprosy like that and not be grateful. Their hearts were filled with gratitude, but not so filled that they want to detour and have to go back to say thank you. See, beloved, it's one thing to be grateful.

It's something altogether to show it, to manifest it, to do gratitude. Feeling and doing are not the same thing. That this man was steadfast, he said, fellows, we may never meet again. We spent all this time together in misery. I've enjoyed your company in misery, but you guys go ahead. I'm going back. And so, Luke tells us, He returned, and again with a loud voice, not quietly, not subtly, not embarrassingly, not with a whisper, again His voice is raised.

For what? To glorify God. You know, before I stepped up these steps, we had the offering, and when the offering is given, we accompany the offering with a song, praise God, from whom all blessings flow.

Do we mean that? This is what the essence of worship is, is to come and to offer to God the sacrifice of our praise. In the beginning of Romans, in the first chapter, Paul talks about the fact that God reveals Himself from heaven to every human being in the world, and that His wrath is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men. And the reason why they are ungodly and unrighteous is they suppress the truth of God that He reveals to every man, leaving them without an excuse. And then he goes on to say, knowing God, they did not honor Him as God, neither were they grateful. Now the two sins, the primary sins, the most basic of all sins, the root of every other sin, those two sins for which every human being in his natural unconverted state is guilty of, are a refusal to honor God as God and in gratitude toward God. If I would say to you what's your most base sin, your worst action of evil, would you come up with something like failure to be grateful to God?

Hardly, but there it is in the Scriptures that this is our fundamental problem. We think that God owes us everything that we receive and much more. And if a person is truly grateful, he shows it, and he shows it in worship and in service to God. That's the part of this passage that I said is so precious, the response of the man who was healed. With a loud voice, he glorifies God, and he fell down on his face at the feet of Jesus, giving Him thanks. And then, by the way, it says he was a Samaritan, a leper, strike one, a Samaritan, strike two, a social outcast, strike three, who fell at the feet of Jesus to thank Him. Now, there's nobody in this room this morning who at some time in his or her life has not suffered from spiritual leprosy. We are by nature lepers, and the God of all mercy and grace through His beloved Son has made us clean if it be that we are in Christ Jesus. So we shouldn't need to eat Pringles in order to shout our thanksgiving to Him or to fall at His feet in honor, adoration, and worship.

This is why we're here. We've been made clean, and we come to give praise, and we come to give thanks. So Jesus answered and said, Am I having a problem with my math? Did I not just heal ten?

Where are they? Where are the other nine? Oh, sir, they're on the way to the priest like you told them. Yes, but you came back to say thank you. You came back to give honor. You came back to praise God.

Where are the rest? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner? And He's speaking to the man, and the man's still on the ground. And now Jesus said to him, Arise, go your way.

Your faith has made you well. Now this poor leopard was really clean. Now he was really free to go. Now he could go on his way. He could see the priest. He could see his wife. He could see his kids. He could see his friends. He could see his rabbi because the Lord Jesus Christ cleansed him.

Do you see it? It's your story. It's my story, and it's God's story. How do you show your thanks to Christ? How do you give glory and honor to your Redeemer? That's what we're about, saying thank you.

That was R.C. Sproul preaching through the Gospel of Luke. I'm grateful you're with us for this Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind.

I'm Nathan W. Bingham. Dr. Sproul preached through entire books of the Bible, and as you heard today, I'm sure you could sense his passion and also his pastoral care and concern for Christians to grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. These sermons form the basis of an expositional commentary series, and today we're making available his commentary on the Gospel of Luke for your gift of any amount. When you give your gift today at, we'll give you digital access to his expositional commentary on the Gospel of Luke, and when you put it on your phone or your tablet, it's easily searchable, and of course it means you can take it with you wherever you go. So give your gift today at Another helpful resource for your phone or your tablet is the free Ligonier Ministries app. When you download it today, you'll have instant access to hundreds of free resources, including conference messages from Dr. Sproul and our teaching fellows, articles, Q&As, and easy access to each day's episode of Renewing Your Mind. So download the free Ligonier Ministries app today. Next week, R.C. Sproul considers a challenging passage in the Gospel of Luke as he examines the coming of the Kingdom of God. So join us next Sunday here on Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 02:41:17 / 2023-03-19 02:48:39 / 7

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