In this lesson, we will learn how Jesus went out of His way to bring healing to ten lepers. This lesson relates to pre-teens and teens, and by the end of this lesson, they should have learnt about the following:
- God hears our cries
- Trusting God at His word.
- Giving Thanks
BIBLE PASSAGE: Luke 17:11-19
MEMORY VERSE: “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.” Luke 17:15
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
Leprosy is a horrific disease and is highly contagious. In Jesus’ day, anyone diagnosed with leprosy was isolated from society and had to live outside the towns and cities. Many Lepers found themselves in Leper colonies with other lepers.
The Jewish law required that those with leprosy shout, “Unclean, unclean” when people approached to avoid contaminating others. At the time, there was no treatment for leprosy. Lepers were isolated and alone from their family and friends while the illness slowly killed them.
Our passage takes place as Jesus and the disciples are travelling toward Jerusalem. The cross was not far away, yet Jesus left the usual path through the region between Samaria and Galilee to bring hope and healing to the hopeless.
These ten lepers were excluded from society. Further, at least one was excluded because of his race (a Samaritan). Yet, this account shows they were never excluded from God’s plan.
1. JESUS HEARS OUR CRY FOR MERCY (LUKE 17:13)
When the ten hopeless lepers saw Jesus, they found some hope. They must have heard of something about Jesus because they call “Teacher, show us mercy.”
The word “mercy” or “pity” must have been commonly on their lips. The Greek verb eleeō, is “to be greatly concerned about someone in need, have compassion/mercy/pity for someone.” These lepers relied on the mercy of others to survive outside of the city.
Jesus hears their cry and gives them more than food, clothes, or medicine. He meets a deeper need.
God always hears our cries. Psalm 18:6 says, “In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help…He heard my voice; my cry came before him, into His ears.”
God hears our cries, knows the details of our circumstances, and acts in grace and mercy. Maybe the lepers would have been satisfied with a warm meal, money, clean water or medicine. But Jesus, gave them more. Jesus meets their deeper need for healing.
Likewise, when we cry out to God for help, we may have a solution in mind. We think, “God, if you do this, everything will be okay.” Don’t be disappointed when God doesn’t answer your prayers the way you thought – He has something better planned.
2. FAITH SHOWS ITSELF IN ACTION (LUKE 17:14)
Jesus answers their request in an interesting way. He could have spoken and healed them in an instant. He could have reached out and touched them and cleansed their skin of this terrible sickness at that moment. But rather, Jesus tells them to go and show themselves to the priest.
The law required someone that had recovered from a skin disease to visit the priest (Leviticus 14:1-32). The priest would verify the healing and allow the person to re-join society.
What’s interesting is, at this point, they were still lepers. These ten had not been healed. The Bible says, “And as they went, they were cleansed.” We know the end of the passage, but they did not. They trusted and obeyed Jesus even when the physical evidence spoke to the contrary.
We might have easily thought, “Let’s wait a bit longer and see if our skin really does improve”, or “I’m not going to make a fool of myself speaking to a priest covered in leprosy.” But these ten men took Jesus at His word and went, and as they went, they were healed.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” That is easy to say but not so easy to do. Walking by faith means we take God at His Word. It means we trust in the unseen realities promised in the Bible. It means we live on the truth of God’s Word, and not on our day’s new or popular philosophy. It means we accept what God says as truth even if our eyes, the world or the devil try to convince us otherwise.
3. DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN EVERYONE ELSE DOES NOT (LUKE 17:15)
When Jesus meets the lepers, they all find themselves in the same position. All were stricken with the terrible disease and death sentences. All were cast out of society. All cried out to Jesus for mercy. All acknowledged Jesus as Rabbi. They all obeyed Jesus and acted in faith to see the priest. All were healed, but only one returned, and Luke writes, “and he was a Samaritan.”
We can imagine as the lepers looked at each other on the way to the priest, they noticed their friend’s face clearing and their hands moving. At some point, a celebration would have broken out. These men had been healed.
All ten lepers realize they are healed, but only one returned to give thanks. The other nine probably ran as fast as they could to see the priest and their families. But the Samaritan returned to praise and thank Jesus.
It is easy for us to be tempted to live like everyone else. We see everyone else doing something and think we don’t want to be left out or considered odd. We can even convince ourselves that wrong actions are okay since “everyone else does it.”
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
We shouldn’t just act like everyone else. We can’t keep doing what we used to do when we did not know God. We are called to do the right thing, even if it means doing it alone.
4. GIVE THANKS (LUKE 17:16)
The Samaritan Leper leaves his friends and returns to Jesus. “When he saw he was healed, he came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him.”
Previously this leper was required to cry out in a loud voice, “Unclean, unclean”. He had called out in a loud voice for mercy, but now He is praising God with a loud voice. He wants everyone to know He has experienced grace and healing. His heart is overflowing with thankfulness.
He throws himself at Jesus’ feet as a sign of complete humility and thanksgiving.
How do you demonstrate your thankfulness to God? Do you spend more time asking God for things than giving Him thanks? Are you public with your thanksgiving? Are you shouting out loudly with thankfulness for God’s mercy?
We can be quick to ask but slow to thank. Repeatedly the Bible tells us the importance of giving thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, for example, says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
We have so much to thank God for – let’s be quick to do it.
Jesus hears us when we cry out to Him. God is not slow to show mercy and meet our biggest need. We must be careful to give Him praise for who He is and what He does.
YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES FOR THE TEN LEPERS
- The game starts with a single player serving as the Leper.
- When any player is tagged, they become a Leper.
- The uninfected players should try to stay away from the lepers
- The game ends when everyone has been tagged and become a Leper.
GUESS WHO’S THANKFUL
- Everyone should write an item they are thankful for:
- For example: A favourite food. A Person. A Hobby. An item and so on. Pick one theme at a time.
- Place all the card with favourite foods folded into a hat and shake.
- Allow each child to pick one card from the hat.
- They must then try to guess who’s card they have. Continue until all the people have been found.
- Repeat with other themes.
STAY AWAY RELAY
- The Lepers had to keep distant from the people in the town.
- In this relay game, teams must work to get items from zone A to zone C without ever being in zone B at the same time.
- If two players enter zone B at the same time. Both must move to zone C and wait for 10 seconds.
- If no players are left in zone A the other team wins.
- Items can only be moved one at a time.