top of page

Give Thanks – Pastor Steen Olsen Sermon Notes

Give Thanks – Luke 17:11-19 St Petri Nuri 13/10/19

Sermon Notes:  Pastor Steen Olsen

Luke 17:11-19On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

This is rank disobedience to a clear command of Jesus  – Jesus’ command had been very specific: “Go and show yourselves to the priests” As they went they were healed of their leprosy Nine continued on in obedience to Jesus’ word One degenerate did not – he disobeyed the command of the Lord of heaven and earth this blighter strays from the straight and narrow way to return to Jesus to praise God and give thanks Jesus condemns the other nine: “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Jesus commends the disobedient Samaritan: “Get up and go on your way, your faith has made you well.” This Samaritan-once-was-a-leper reminds us to “Give Thanks”

1)      Giving thanks is part of our relationship with God To have faith is to be in a relationship with the living God He has established that through baptism and the Word “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” [Rom 10:17] Faith is a God-given trust in God Christ died in our place, took our sin upon himself, so we are now the forgiven children of God

2)      This relationship is not all about rules The 9 obeyed all the rules Before they could return to normal society – before they could approach people up close they had to fulfill the law of Moses

3)     Fulfilling the law began with a visit to the priests as outlined in Leviticus 14 The priest was to examine the leper outside the camp If the disease is healed a complicated sacrifice is to be made involving 2 clean birds, cedarwood, crimson yarn & hyssop

Then the ex leper shall wash his clothes, shave his head and bathe Only then is he declared clean and allowed back in the camp But wait there is more: for seven days he is to live outside his tent

Then more shaving and washing he is finally considered clean The point is the 9 healed lepers set off to obey that law

4)      The one leper sees that he is clean and rather than first go through the ritual to be declared clean he rushes back to Jesus and invades his personal space in regard to a leper, in those days, that is rather important

But no, the cleansed leper barges right up to Jesus feet and falls down before him and Jesus commends him This leper has not only been cleansed of his leprosy, he has found faith and salvation and come into a relationship with God

5)      If we make our relationship with God all about obeying rules we miss the point I am not saying that disobedience is good – far from it The point is that we have a relationship with God, not with a set of laws, not even with the 10 commandments Simply trying our hardest to keep all the rules does not make us Christian or mature us in the faith

It would be a bit like trying to live in a friendship ‘by the numbers’ – for example: 1  greet hello friend 2  affirm you’re looking well 3  petition please make me a cuppa 4  thank thanks 5  praise that’s a wonderful cuppa That’s no way to build a relationship Trying to live by the law brings death, not life

6)       Giving thanks is a very important part of our relationship with God not because the law says so … but because we are set free from the law, free to be spontaneous in our love and gratitude just like the one leper

As we give thanks we grow in thankfulness and gratitude which builds a healthy outlook on life and positive attitude in regard to God’s place in our lives and the world

The one leper seems to have understood that this is a relationship not just a task to be done – fulfill the requirements of the law or a prize to be claimed – healing and a normal life but the truth that my Lord loves me and I love him in return

7)      Being a Samaritan-leper is a bad combination if you had to live in 1st century Palestine cut off from human fellowship and the worshipping community The Jews had no time for Samaritans, and lepers had to live their lives at a distance Life was hard – they had lots to complain about They come to Jesus and cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus heals their physical leprosy but only one of them appears to understand the deeper healing that was necessary the healing from the leprosy of sin …

8)      The 9 were healed, but they would get sick again – maybe not leprosy – but a sickness would bring death The one is truly healed because his freedom from leprosy has become a sign of the gift of faith and the wellness that is salvation This deeper healing has become far more important for him than the outer healing of his leprosy the priests can wait first, Jesus needs to be thanked

9)      We are here so that people might receive that deeper healing That is why God has placed us in this community So that the gospel may be proclaimed So that people may come to faith and their lives be healed That is why we are here today To thank God for this community of faith and for our relationship in the gospel We are working together so that people may be healed through the forgiveness of their sin

We thank Jesus for healing us from the leprosy of sin and all the other lesser leprosies along way As we journey through life we may sometimes be healed of leprosy or one of its modern equivalents sometimes we may not be healed but may need to keep bearing the burden Some of us will enter heaven without being healed in this life healing will only come then …

Others will be healed of some disease in this life irrespective, we still need that deeper healing that leads to thanksgiving So lets give thanks to God for the healing that is ours! Amen.

Pastor Steen Olsen Blog: bring Jesus (subscribe at – You find it under ‘LCA Districts’) Assisting the Church to become more missional in its culture, theology and practice.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page