Close Encounters: Part 10

For most of us hunters we all are suffering from a disease that has no cure. We suffer all through the off season watching hunting shows and reading outdoor articles to get a good enough “fix” that will get us through the day. However, we all know that the only remedy is a close encounter with our quarry, or more specifically a harvested animal of some kind. It is amazing how quickly we can go from a depressed state to an exhilarating state when we put our hands on that trophy kill. I am already felling the effects of this disease as turkey season is drawing near to the end. I have had some exhilarating moments this year, but I can already fill the effects of depression, a major symptom of our disease, coming on.

In our devotion today we see a group of people that was suffering from an incurable disease. However, Jesus passed by and had a special close encounter with them. They all left that place cleansed from this disease and full of joy. They went from a sick and depressed state to an exhilarating state just by having a close encounter with Christ. One of these people had even a closer encounter with our Lord and was blessed in a very special way. I pray the Lord can use this story and outline to help you through your day.

Luke 17:11-19 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

When Jesus Passed By: He Cleanses the Uncleansable

Notice that this story and many other Jesus stories start out with the phrase: “When Jesus Passed By”. When Jesus passed through an area, by a person, or down a street, peoples lives was for ever changed. Do you remember these familiar scenes:
1. Matt.20:30-34 (The two blind men given sight.)
2. Mark 5:21-43 (Jairus’ daughter brought back to life and the young woman healed.)
3. Matt 14 and Mark 4 and 6 (Jesus calms the storm)
4. Matt 6:53-56 (Jesus does many works at Gennesaret)
5. Luke 19:1-10 (Jesus brought salvation to Zacchaeus)
* Verse 4, are you in a place where you know Jesus is
going to pass by?
6. John 9:1-7 (Jesus gives sight to the blind)
Here in our text we see a great work that Jesus did when He passed by the lepers. Jesus will do some great works for us if we will be sensitive to His presence. Jesus’ blessed touch is such a wonderful thing that all of us should be reaching out for. This work is seen literally through out the entire Bible. However, His touch spiritually can be felt right now and right where you are sitting.
I personally have gotten the pleasure to experience God’s work in my life in some powerful ways. Through several close encounters with the Lord, He has renewed, refreshed, and restored some things in my life spiritually. What a blessing to feel His touch and be in His presence. In our text today you will see this awesome close encounter and a very special work of God as He passed by this leper colony. Though Jesus never directly touched these people, His presence and power was felt and experienced in a powerful way.

Notice these experiences that can be felt when Jesus passes by:

I. One experience that can be felt is a: A Cleansing Touch. (11-14)
(A Picture of God’s Blessed Touch of Salvation.)
(A Touch of Grace)
A. He Cleansed them from their Sickness.
Leprosy is Sickening: It is a slowly progressing and incurable skin disease that is sickening just to look at someone who has it. This disease would cause sores, scabs, and spots to form all over the body. Out of these would leak out puss and other body liquids. Leprosy basically would cause your body to rot from the outside in. A leper’s skin and digits (figures/toes) would later even fall off.
Leprosy also is Separating: For a leper, because it is contagious and it has no cure, must be isolated from the rest of the population. Usually lepers would gather a few miles outside a town in a community call leper colonies. When a person would approach the colony the lepers would call out “unclean, unclean, stay away!”
* In this little section of this text we see a:
1. A Desperate Cry for Mercy (Cry)
2. A Compelling Answer of Grace (Command)
3. A Healing Compliance of Faith (Cure or Cleansing)
B. He Cleansed us from our Sin.
* Leprosy is most likely the best picture of sin in the Bible. Sin, as bad as leprosy sounds is far worse than that.
Just picture this seen at hand:
Jesus passes by in sight of the colony, they start to shout out, “unclean, unclean, stay away!” Then one of the lepers says, hey that is Jesus! So there call completely changes. “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked into there eyes and cleansed them. He said you take a step of faith for Me and you will be cleansed. I believed before they made it two steps out of the leper colony they were cleansed.
The lepers called out to Him, when He passed by, and Jesus was compelled to come to them. Salvation is the same way. When Jesus comes your way, and Jesus must come your way for you to be saved, then you call out to Him and He is compelled to save you.

II. Another experience that can be felt is a: A Celebrated Touch. (15-16)
(A Picture of God’s Blessed Touch of Celebration)
(A Touch of Gladness)
A. Notice the Joy Shared with each other.
B. Notice the Joy Spread to others.
1. Its Party Time (Luke 15, the prodigal returns)
2. (Exodus 15)
*We have so much to be thankful for: salvation, a good family, a good job, a good church, people who love you, and many more. And these are just the simple things. Think about what God has done for you today. When is the last time you have expressed your appreciation to God for what He has done for you?

* Satan wants to still that extra blessing of celebration and joy we receive in an outward expression of appreciation to God. No matter what constrains Satan my have on you, just give God the Glory and shout out your praises for Him. The wall will fall down and Satan will not be able to hold on. Remember what Joshua and the Hebrew people did at the Battle of Jericho. They played the trumpets and shouted, then the walls fell.

III. Lastly, one other experience that can be felt is a: A Completing Touch. (17-19)
(A Picture of God’s Blessed Touch of Restoration.)
(A Touch of Glory)
A. A Turn to God (An Act of Repentance)
* This turn to God, or about-face, came after the realization of what just happened in this man’s life.
For God to really do a work in our lives we need to realize the work He has already done.

1. It was A Single Action
2. It was A Shouting Action
B. A Falling to the Ground (An Act of Reverence)
* Once we realize what God has done and is doing in our lives we need to bow at His feet in reverence and
thank Him for who He is and for what He has done.

1. It was a Humble Action
2. It was a Thankful Action
3. It was a Special Action (He was a Samaritan)
*The Samaritans were rejected half-breeds. The Jews hated them as well as the Gentiles. So here is this story we see this leper as being the rejected of the rejects. He got a special blessing from the Lord that even the most devout Jew had never gotten.
C. A Question from the Savior (An Act of Revelation)
* Any time that God is asking a question it is not because He does not know the answer. He knows all the answers.
He asks the question to reveal something about you and the situation at hand.

1. The revealing Act of Separation. (Only one returned to give glory to God.)
2. The revealing Act of Selflessness. (The other nine was not there.)
3. The revealing of the Stranger. (God revealed the blessings He has in store for the faithful, even for the rejects in society.)
D. A Statement from the Savior (An Act of Restoration)
* The power in Jesus’ statements is truly amazing. To be able to do all the things He did just by speaking them.
Are we truly hearing with our hearts the words of Christ? Just think of all the amazing things we have missed out
on by not listening and obeying the Masters commands.

1. A Command to stand & walk in the Fullness of God.
2. A Completion of spirit & body by his Faith in God.
*Because this man thanked God, bowed to the Lord’s feet, and gave Him the Glory for what happened to him, God gave him a special touch of Glory. Not only did Jesus heal this man, but he was completely restored. I know God’s grace is sufficient; His marvelous grace is all we will ever need. However, don’t you want the very best that God has to offer. This man got something extra that the other 9 did not get. He was made whole. All were cleansed and none had leprosy any more, but this man got all his fingers back, all his skin back, and all his scars cleared up. He became the healthy complete person that he was before he had leprosy. He got something extra. He got a touch of Gods Awesome Glory.

Concluding Thoughts:
Think about this: These stats are one to think about. 1 out of every 10 saved people has a special touch of God on them. Out of a group of 100 saved folk 10 has a presence about them that is a little different than the others. What is this, it is not Grace, but it is God’s Glory shining through in a special way. Maybe they have this touch because they read there bible more than most and they spend some serious time each day in their prayer closet. Whatever they are doing, God’s Glory is shining all around them. Wouldn’t you like to have this touch?

Think about this: These lepers were saturated in their sickness, separated from their families, waiting to die from their disease, but guess who came by, Jesus. They then called out unto Him, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And he cleansed them. Do you remember when you were lost in your sickness of sin, separated from heaven, just going through the motions of life and headed toward a devils hell, but then guess who came by, Jesus. Then you cried out unto Him, Jesus, Master, have mercy on me. And he saved you.
That is worth shouting about, that is worth celebrating, and that is worth throwing a party over.

Allow the Lord to use this little story and devotion to help you grow closer to our Lord and Savior. Never forget about His touch of Grace that we need to be Grateful for and to give Him the Glory for in each and everyday of our lives. What an Awesome God we serve! He sure has been good to me.

God Bless and Happy Hunting.

Posted by Mark Newell

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