1. Leprosy is a fatal skin disease and is highly contagious. Read all of Lev. 13 and 14. If a person had leprosy he became an outcast. Only a priest could declare him clean. It was a living death.
2. Jesus was proceeding east on the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a certain Samaritan village, ten lepers stood at a distance and shouted "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" Evidently they had heard Jesus or at least about Him. They wanted to be delivered from this living death. One was a Samaritan. Evidently the nine were Jews.
3. In response Jesus gave a command which contained a promise: "Go and show yourselves to the priests." They must have believed Him because they went. And while they went they were cleansed.
4. There was a great difference between the one Samaritan and the other nine Jews. All must have believed. All went. All were cleansed. And, very likely, all were thankful. But the Samaritan was different. He glorified God. Vs. 15 reads: "He returned with a loud voice glorifying God." And in vs. 18 Jesus asks: "Did none return to give glory to God except this foreigner?" The nine did not glorify God. The one Samaritan did glorify God. What does that mean?
5. When Christ was born the angels sang: "Glory to God in the highest." That means: "Give all credit to God as the giver." At Mt. 5:16 Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father." That means that your life should show that God is the giver of all gifts. Ps. 50:15 reads "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." To glorify God means to acknowledge Him as the merciful giver of all gifts. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Lk. 19:38) the people cried: "Blessed is He who comes, the King, in the name of the Lord. In heaven peace and glory in the highest." God Himself is the giver of all gifts.
6. In the moment that the ten were cleansed the nine were evidently concerned only about what the priests would say. They knew that they would be declared clean. But in that moment the cleansed Samaritan was absorbed only with the One Who healed him. He ran back. He shouted all the way. He was forbidden to approach other people before a priest would pronounce him clean. But, in this case, he ran right to the Great Giver, fell at His feet thanking Him. " What was the difference? The nine believed and very likely were thankful but they were thinking only of themselves. The one also believed but was thinking only of the One Who had mercy on him.
7. Only to the one Jesus said: "Arise and go. Your faith has saved you." He had been healed in soul and body. His sins were forgiven and his body had been healed.
8. When David sinned so grievously but repented he composed Ps. 51 which reads: "Have mercy upon me, 0 God, according to your loving kindness." He glorified God. When Paul became a Christian he acknowledged himself as the chief of sinners but God as the God of mercy in Christ Jesus. I Tim. 1:12-17. He says: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
9. When people become ill and must go to the hospital and are then healed many are thankful but not all give God alone the glory. The person who gives God all the glory acknowledges that he is an unworthy sinner but that God, in Christ, has had mercy on him. Many people cry: "Lord have mercy on us" but not all give God alone all the glory when God answers their prayer. The person who gives God all the glory says: "Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good because His mercy endures forever."
10. At the end of every composition J. S. Bach wrote "To God alone be all the glory." Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:21; Php. 4:20; I Tim. 1:17; II Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; I Pet. 4:11; II Pet. 3:18; Jd. 25; Rev. 1:6; Rev. 4:11, Rom. 16:27.
Our theme is taken from Ps. 50:15. It outlines exactly what our text says. But there were some who did not glorify God even though they had called on Him and He had delivered them. Are we glorifying God? Let us examine ourselves in our text.
I. CALL UPON ME IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE
A. The day of trouble. Ever since the fall of man the justice of God has required that man and nature suffer. The fields have their thorns and thistles. Man and beast have their diseases. All must die. One of the great troubles in Israel at Jesus' time was leprosy. Leprosy is a very contagious skin disease. In most cases it is fatal. It slowly eats up the whole body. Read Lev. 13 and 14. Those who had leprosy were not allowed to come close to clean people. They banded together in little groups. Only the priests could declare a leper clean. But there is no recorded instance of a priest declaring a leper clean. It was deadly, like AIDS today.
B. Even the pagan pray to their gods. The ancient Greeks and Romans, the modern Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, all pray to their gods. But false gods are not gods. I Cor. 8:4. They do not pray because their god commands. Nor does he promise anything. But throughout the ages the true God has commanded His children to pray and he has promised to hear them. For example, wherever Abraham pitched his tent he built an altar and worshipped the true God. Think of the many prayers in the book of Pss. Think of Daniel's prayers. Think of the Lord's Prayer in Mt. 6. The ten lepers had great trouble. They brought their trouble to Jesus and called on Him: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." They must have believed in Him. They call Him Master.
II. I WILL DELIVER THEE.
Read Ps. 107 in its entirety. It gives us the history of Israel. It tells us how they sinned again and again. But each time they turned to the Lord in prayers. Four times this chapter says: "Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses." Vss. 6, 13, 19 and 28. In the Lord's Prayer we say: "Deliver us from evil." That is a daily prayer. Paul said: "The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever." II Tim. 4:18. Jesus said that He was given us authority over all the power of Satan, and, therefore nothing shall by any means hurt us. Lk. 10:19. According to His Promise, Jesus delivered the ten lepers from their dreaded burden. As they went to show themselves to the priests they were cleansed. The leprosy left them. They had been delivered.
III. AND YOU SHALL GLORIFY ME
A. The similarity between the nine and the one. Jesus' command contained a promise of deliverance. All must have believed or they would not have gone. All were delivered. Jesus said so. Very likely the nine, like the one, were thankful. If you had AIDS in our time and would suddenly be cured would you not be thankful? Surely you would.
B. The difference between the nine and the one. We read that the one returned glorifying God. Jesus said: "Weren't there found those who returned to give God the glory except this foreigner?" He truly was a foreigner, not only an earthly foreigner (Samaritan) but also a heavenly foreigner (read Heb. 11:13). The nine regarded their deliverance only a temporal, earthly, bodily matter but the one gave glory to the eternal God for His goodness and mercy. Many people are thankful when they get well after a disease. But God's children give all glory to God. To them alone He says: "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." With the angels Christians give all glory to God for sending His Son.