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Behold the Work of God

August 3, 2023 | by: Luke Shelnutt | 0 comments

Luke 17:11–19

On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, 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 cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (ESV)

Luke-17vs11-19I remember the very first time I ever drank a boba tea. It was circa summer 1997, I was staying the week with my cousins in San Leandro, CA. One night, they decided to take me and my brother out for a treat. They asked if I’ve ever had “boba” before, in which I responded with a, “no”. They began to describe the delicately balanced characteristics of this sweet, chewy, tapioca pearl.

As I slowly drank my first boba tea, my eyes lit with excitement, joy, and satisfaction. I remember returning home a few days later and telling all of my friends about the wonderful experience of boba tea. Most of them probably became tired of me constantly talking about it. I became almost obsessed with this magnificent, golden, tapioca sphere known as “boba”.

Since then, I have enjoyed many boba teas. However, my excitement and joy of boba has worn off. Has the quality of boba tea gone down? Is it objectively not as good as it used to be? Or have I simply become used to it? Has the joy of boba tea worn off because of the frequency of my consumption of it?

My fear is that we may treat the work and the grace of God in a similar way. In the words of John Newton from his famous hymn Amazing Grace, “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed”. Is it still precious? Or have we become accustomed to God’s grace in our lives that it no longer seems as precious as it once did?

Luke 2_edited-1We see and experience God’s grace and His work in our lives every single day. Never once is it short of amazing, and it's always more than we deserve. My hope in this article is to encourage you to behold the work of God in your life, and joyfully respond in worship to Him.

In Luke 17:11-19 we see a parable of types. It’s not a typical parable, as this is a not a fictional story, but rather a real-life event with real people. In this passage, Jesus is walking through a small village when ten lepers lift up their voices, crying out to Jesus saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”. Jesus says to them. “Go and show yourselves to the priests”.

On their way to show themselves to the priests they were healed. One of the ten lepers stopped in his tracks, turned around, ran back to Jesus, and fell at His feet in worship to Him. My goal is to look at that one leper and examine how he beheld the work of God the Son, and how it resulted in his worship of Him.

First, we see the leper acknowledge the work of God. A miracle has occurred in this leper’s life. Jesus has completely turned his life upside down. Prior to this, the leper was an outcast. He was alienated from society, he was hopeless, and he was rotting from the inside out. This was a dead man walking. But then enters Jesus… A divine miracle from God changes this man’s life. As soon as this man was healed, he understood the miracle that just took place.

Beloved, do you remember the miracle that took place in your heart? Do you remember the work and the grace of God in your life? Ephesians 2:1-3 describes us very similarly to that of a leper. Just as Christ showed mercy to this leper, so too does the Father show mercy to us. You have been given spiritual life, and it is only because of the grace of God.

Like the leper, apart from Christ, you would remain spiritually dead, hopeless, and alienated from God. But by His grace, a divine miracle from God has completely healed you of your spiritual sickness. By His grace you have been given life. Let us daily remember and acknowledge this incredible miracle and gift that has been given to us by God.

Second, we see the leper turn back and praise God. This is the difference between the one leper and the other nine lepers. This leper is so overwhelmed by thankfulness for what Christ has done for him, that he must stop what he is doing and joyfully give praise to God. Sadly, I think there are many in our world who are like the nine lepers; they want to receive the goodness of God, but they do not want to stop and praise Him. They want the blessings of God, but they do not want to worship Him.

These nine lepers cried out with exuberance to be healed (Luke 17:13), but they did not cry out in praise (Luke 17:17-18). My prayer is that we would be like the one leper; that we would stop in the busyness of our lives, acknowledge the work and the grace of God in our lives, and we would praise Him for it. Sadly, I must confess that I too often go throughout the busyness of my day without stopping and acknowledging all that God has done for me. As a result, I miss out on giving the praise and worship to God that He deserves.

Lastly, we see the leper fall on his face and give thanks to God. When the leper returns to Jesus, his only response is to fall on his face at the feet of Jesus and give Him thanks. He responds in worship. Can you recognize the work and the grace of God in your life today, and will you give Him thanks for it? If anything, let us stand at the foot of the cross, fall flat on our face, and give thanks to God. There is not a day that goes by that we cannot look to God and give Him thanks for His grace in our life. Will you respond in thanksgiving to God? Will you respond in worship?

The life of this leper, because of the grace of God, changed dramatically. I imagine, later that day, he would go back to his family, friends, and everyone he knew and tell of the wondrous work that Jesus had done for him. Will that be your response? Will you tell others of the wonderous work that Jesus has done in your life? Will you behold the work of God and respond in joyful worship? Will you give thanks for all He has done for you? May His grace be as precious to you as it was when you first believed.

Luke Shelnutt is the Youth Minister at Grace Bible Church