The Thankful Leper


I love that story about a family who invited some friends back to their home for a meal after church. After dinner was served on the table the mother invited her young son to say a prayer before they ate. The little boy said, ‘mum, I wouldn’t know what to say’. So his mum hugged him and said, ‘just say what you hear your father say’ so the little boy bowed his head and said, ‘Dear God why on earth did we ever invite these people back for dinner?’

“Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17

Christians are supposed to be a thankful people while doing everything in Jesus’ Name.

Not only are we to be thankful for our very lives every day, but we should be thankful for the sun, rain, families, friends, our health, etc, even the very food that we eat every day. Now the world doesn’t recognise where all these blessings come from but as Christians, we should know, and that’s why we should be a thankful people.

“May all who come to you be glad and joyful. May all who are thankful for your salvation always say, “How great is the Lord!” Psalm 40:16

We should be thankful not only for God providing our everyday needs but also for our salvation.

Now there are many ways to express our thankfulness, some people send flowers as a way of saying thanks. Some people give gifts as a way of saying thanks. When a mother gives birth to a newborn child she will usually receive lots of gifts for the newborn baby and in return, the mother will usually send a card back saying “Thank you so much for your gift. It was just what we needed for our new baby.”

And so in return it really makes us feel good that our friends took the time to send us a card to say, “Thank You”.

But I remember when I was a kid and someone gave me a gift or did something nice for me and my mum would always give me a slap on the back and says to me, “Now, what do you say?”

Now I knew what to say, but unfortunately, I sometimes forget to say it.

And don’t we all forget to say thank you sometimes?

Take a look at these three cars

How many of you kids like cars? How many of you have ridden in a car before? That was kind of a silly question, wasn’t it? We have all ridden in cars at one time or another and by riding in cars we know at least a little something about them, don’t we?

Cars are a wonderful means of transportation wouldn’t you agree? Now if were to ask you what kind of car would you be if you could be a car?

Show the picture of the race car

“Here is a real beauty and it’s fast too. Race cars are the movie stars of the car world, very glamorous and highly visible, although they don’t tend to last very long.”

Show the picture of the truck

“Here is one tough vehicle; Trucks are the workhorses of the car world. Trucks are built to last and are strong as an Ox. In most cases, trucks don’t give up until the job is done.”

Show the picture of the people carrier

“Now here is a vehicle we all know and love. People carriers are commonplace in the car world, you see them everywhere. These babies are among the most useful vehicles in the car world and are used on a daily basis.”

So have you decided what car you would like to be?

Maybe you thought of an entirely different type of car to be. But what do all of these cars have in common?

If you said that all cars get old and eventually break down you would be correct. Age, accidents and everyday use will wear a car out; sooner or later all cars are destined for the junkyard unless someone restores them.

In some ways our lives are like the cars we talked about today, just as there are many different types of cars, there are many types of people. Some people are glamorous, some are workers and some are everyday people. Just as all cars break down, all people share a common problem, which causes us to wear out and eventually die. That problem is called sin. Just as a car can’t fix its own dent or flat tires, we can’t fix the problem of sin.

But I have good news! The Bible tells us.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus will restore our fellowship with God and allow us to live with Him for eternity.

“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Mark 1:40

Do you know what this is a picture of?

It is a bottle of medicine called calamine lotion. Calamine is a medicine that is sometimes used to help stop itching. Have you ever had chickenpox? When you have chickenpox, it starts like a cold, you feel lousy, have a runny nose, and run a fever.

Then, all of a sudden, itchy red bumps start to break out all over your body and the itching drives you crazy, but you can’t scratch, because that just makes it worse. It is a very uncomfortable feeling, but it isn’t hopeless. Rubbing on some calamine lotion may help to ease the itching. And in a few days, the sores go away, the itching stops, and life is back to normal again.

Do you know what a leper is?

No, it is not an animal with spots on it. That’s a leopard! However, a leper does have spots. A leper is a person who has a disease called leprosy. Leprosy was very common in Jesus’ day, and people who had this disease were thought to be unclean.

They were required to stay away from other people because of the fear that they might infect them with their disease. During the time when Jesus lived upon the earth, leprosy was very widespread and was a dreaded disease. When someone had leprosy, they were covered with sores all over their bodies.

Unlike chickenpox, these sores didn’t just go away. When someone had leprosy, it was hopeless, because there was no cure. To make matters worse, other people considered them to be unclean and were not allowed to touch them. Many people believed that people who had leprosy got the disease because of some terrible sin they had committed. They were in a hopeless situation.

And whenever we find ourselves in a hopeless situation and when we find that we have nowhere to turn, turn to Jesus. This is what this leper did and what did Jesus do?

“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured”. Mark 1:41-42

And notice unlike today’s so-called faith healers, Jesus didn’t say come back in two weeks’ time, He didn’t say take this anointing oil and rub it all over yourself for five days and you will be cured. He didn’t say make a donation and you will be healed, No Jesus just spoke and immediately the man was healed. Jesus gave a hopeless person hope and He can still do that today.

Let’s look at another story about more hopeless people who suffered from leprosy.

“As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. He was going into a village when he was met by ten men suffering from a dreaded skin disease”. Luke 17:11-12

“They stood at a distance and shouted, “Jesus! Master! Have pity on us!” Luke 17:13

Now here are ten lepers who are also in a hopeless situation, society has turned their backs on them and basically, they were outcasts. But it’s obvious that they knew who Jesus was but not only did they know who Jesus was they also knew that Jesus had the power to heal them.

Do you believe that?

Do you believe that Jesus can heal us from our disease called sin? You see guys; the ten lepers came to Jesus first before they were healed. And sometimes we have to do that; sometimes we need to come to Jesus to be healed. Can you imagine going to the doctors and saying, ‘doctor I have a sin problem’?

The doctor would look at you as if you were from another planet.

When Jesus went to Matthew’s house for a get together some Pharisees were there and asking questions about why Jesus would sit with tax collectors and prostitutes.

“Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick”. Matthew 9:12

You see Jesus is the great doctor and when He voluntarily went to Calvary to die, He provided the One and only cure for sin shed. His blood.

“And so when Jesus heard them, He called back to the lepers and said, “Go, show yourself to the priest.” Luke 17:14

Now we know from our scripture reading earlier in Leviticus 14:1-20 that they were to show themselves to the priest so that the priest can carry out the cleaning ceremony for the people who have been cured.

“As the lepers went on their way to see the priest, they looked at their skin and the sores were gone. Jesus had healed their disease”. Luke 17:14

They were so happy that they ran up and down the streets singing and dancing.

“Suddenly, one of them stopped and went back. Praising God with a loud voice” Luke 17:15

“He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and said, “Thank You.” Luke 17:16

“Jesus said to him, “Weren’t there ten who were healed? Where are the other nine?” Only one out of ten remembered to say, “Thank You.” Luke 17:17

You see loved ones; God does so much for each and every one of us! Every day He provides everything we need: food, clothing, and a place to live. If you’re a Christian you need to know that every day Jesus’ blood continually washes us clean of sin.

Do we ever forget to say, “Thank You?”

Yes, we do. Let’s stop right now and say “Thank You” and ask God to help us remember to thank Him every day. You see sometimes, we may find ourselves in a situation where we are uncomfortable, like when we had chickenpox.

But there may come a time in our lives when we find ourselves in a situation that is truly hopeless. When that happens, where can we turn? How do we find hope in a hopeless situation? We can turn to Jesus. When the situation is hopeless, Jesus is our only hope. Because do you know what Jesus is going to do? He is going to do to you what He did with those ten lepers; He is going to restore you.

The question is how long will it be before you forget to say thank you God for restoring me?

Have you ever seen the film Bruce Almighty? You will remember that after a while Bruce has finally given in and turned his life over to God and what happens straight after he did this? He was immediately hit by a truck and suddenly, he finds himself in heaven, getting a lesson in prayer from God. And so God explains to Bruce the reason he is dead. Bruce wants to know why he had to die now.

God, instead of answering, tells Bruce that he has a divine spark inside him to bring joy to others. When Bruce asks God, “What do you want me to do?” God responds, “I want you to pray.” A little startled by the request, Bruce attempts a standard prayer asking God to feed the hungry and bring peace to the world.

When Bruce asks God for an evaluation, God says, “Great, if you want to be Miss America.” He tells Bruce to try again, concentrating on something he truly cares about. Bruce cares about his girlfriend, Grace. When God asks if Bruce wants her back, he says, “No.”

Bruce appears to recognize that he has squandered his chance with Grace, and now only wants her to find someone who will love her and who will, “see her, always, as I do now, through Your eyes.” God tells him, “Now that’s a prayer” and assures Bruce that He will get right on it. He steps forward and touches Bruce with his two index fingers while shouting, “Clear!” Bruce complains, “That didn’t feel so good.” God repeats “Clear!” and the next thing Bruce knows is that he is back on the road, with paramedics shocking his heart back to life.

You see guys, God can use our circumstances to make changes in our lives, but He is more concerned about our character. In the film, Bruce is always praying about himself, wanting God to do things to make his life happier. God wanted to change Bruce’s perspective. Finally, in the last prayer scene, Bruce prays honestly, indicating that he wants Grace to have what God wants for her, someone who will see Grace as God sees her.

God wants us to pray from His eternal perspective and wants us to develop His way of looking at the world. He also wants us to pray honestly, casting our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. But guys it’s not to be all one-way traffic, when God answers our prayers we need to take the time to say, ‘Thank you’.

Because when we stop to take the time to say thank you, we won’t forget what He has done for each and every one of us. Adults we need to keep reminding the kids about the things have done in the past and encourage them to stop and say thank you.

“Listen, my people, to my teaching, and pay attention to what I say. I am going to use wise sayings and explain mysteries from the past, things we have heard and known, and things that our ancestors told us. We will not keep them from our children; we will tell the next generation about the Lord’s power and his great deeds and the wonderful things he has done.” Psalm 78:1-4

How often do we go on our way rejoicing and forget to stop and praise God and thank him for his goodness? Kids God has blessed you with godly people all around you; please take the time to thank God for them. He has blessed you with good schools and a peaceful country to live in, please take the time to thank Him.

When you go home today and prepare for dinner, please take a moment to thank Him for the food you are about to eat.

Let’s stop, let’s go back and let’s thank Him now.