Saturday, January 14, 2012

Luke Part 54: The Ten Lepers

Text: Luke 17:11-20

As we have seen in the previous passage, trials and tribulations are inevitable in the kingdom, and it will be necessary for us to ask forgiveness.  In that passage, the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, and Jesus told them to follow Him and trust that their faith would see them through.

This passage (the miracle of the ten lepers) continues on the teaching of the previous one (the story of the unprofitable servant).  Note that these events didn't happen in direct chronological order.  Luke placed this account here in order to show an additional example of the teaching also contained in the parable of the unprofitable servant.

This account begins by showing us the ten lepers.  Remember that leprosy was often used as a picture of sin.  These lepers stood afar off, as they were required to.

All of the ten lepers called out to Jesus for mercy.  All of the ten sought Him.  Jesus reached out to them and told them to show themselves to the priest.  All ten obeyed Him, following His command.  On the way there, a healing occurred, but only one of the healed men returned to thank Jesus.

The nine who didn't return are like the unprofitable servant.  They had done what they were told to do, and they received a benefit.  But their focus remained on themselves.  They showed no desire to have an increased stewardship or a closer relationship with Jesus.  They showed no gratitude.  Only the one who returned showed those things.  Note that the Lord cared about these nine as well.  He was saddened by their failure to return in gratitude.

This one who returned was made a whole man.  He didn't need to have his faith increased; he had been given sufficient faith.

Then, in the 20th verse, the Pharisees demand to know when the kingdom was coming.  They missed the teaching of Jesus about a spiritual kingdom, and were still expecting a physical fulfillment of the kingdom prophecies.  (Note: Asking questions of the Lord is a good thing.  But we must come to Him with a humble attitude; we must never come in a demanding spirit.)

Jesus answered that the kingdom doesn't come with observation.  Jesus was fulfilling these things spiritually, the way they had been intended to be fulfilled, not physically, as they misunderstood.

We are not waiting for a kingdom to come.  God is reigning now.  We're in the kingdom now.  It's not physically observed; there is no pomp and circumstance associated with the true kingdom of God.  If you see that, get away; you can be sure that it is false.  This kingdom is not in a particular place; it is worldwide.

Loving service to God is the word of the kingdom.  Be looking to Jesus the King of this kingdom!

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