From Hopeless to Whole 


Charles Billingsley

What if I told you there was a secret something out there that has been scientifically proven to increase your work performance, increase your metabolism, increase your energy, and increase your overall well-being.  What if I told you it does not come in the form of a pill, a potion, or a power drink?  And what if I told you it is FREE!!??  Would you want to know what it is?  Would you want it?

Of course you would!  So you want me to tell you?

Ok I’ll tell you later.  Meanwhile…let’s turn to Luke 17.

Before we dive in, Let me give you the context…

It was winter of AD 32 when this moment took place. And, it was at the front end of Jesus’ last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. His heart was focused on the cross that awaited him, and He knew what was to come over the next several weeks. It would be a long, emotional, and physically draining journey….now we pick up the story in verse 11.

Luke 17:11-19 (NKJV)

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

And the first thing we notice is a:

I. The Hopeless Situation 

Imagine being an outcast to society, having a disease to which there is no cure. No affection, no contact with loved ones, no future, no hope, no career, and no cure . . . yet life still lingers through all this desolation. And so, because of this, lepers would join together in colonies for the sake of support and community.

These ten lepers are standing a far ways off…

Luke 17:13 – And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Another symptom of leprosy was a hoarse voice.

So when they lifted up their voices it probably sounded more like a forced whisper . . . imagine something like the voice of the “Godfather.”

But they are calling out to Jesus, “Master.”

They clearly have an understanding of who He is.

Or, perhaps they’ve heard reports that He had even healed a leper earlier. (we find that story in Luke 5) Which, by the way, was a VERY significant miracle because it truly showed Jesus was the Messiah. Isaiah 35 and 53 point us to the fact that the coming Messiah would perform 3 significant miracles, and Healing a Jewish Leper was the first of those.  Jesus has already done it once, and now he’s about to do it again…ten fold! Jesus is proving to all of them…Jews and Samaritans alike, that He truly is the Messiah.

However, these lepers aren’t interested in Messiahship…they don’t even ask Him for healing . . . they simply call out for mercy . . . or pity.

That is truly a heart breaking scene . . . a hopeless situation. But now see . . .

1. The Hopeless Situation 

2.  The Hopeful Response

Luke 17:14 – So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

They asked Jesus for mercy. But instead Jesus gave them instructions to go to the temple.

There are many times in our lives where we simply need to take steps of obedience in faith. Logic can’t explain it. But when we sense the Lord is leading us, we need to take a step of faith. If we don’t, we will never know the joy of what is to come next.

When you are in a hopeless situation, lean in to your faith.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Hebrews 11:6 – Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

-George Muller.

So we have this heartbreaking scene then we see a hopeful response (faith). Is there a practical takeaway from this?

A. Obedience to God begins with a small step of faith.

 Now let’s see . . .

1. The Hopeless Situation 

2. The Hopeful Response 

3. Their Health Restored 

Luke 17:14b – And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

There’s that phrase again . . . “as they went” . . . they are just taking one step at a time in faith . . . when suddenly!

The Bible indicates through it’s wording here that is was not a gradual thing, but that it happened suddenly . . . at once.

Can you just imagine this moment? Can you picture the excitement?

Here are these ten leprous, miserable, lonely, and hurting men and suddenly they are cured.

This cure doesn’t mean they have simply gotten rid of a disease . . . it literally means they’ve been given their life back! After the temple ritual, they can go back to their wives . . . their kids . . . their careers . . . their friends!

So what’s the takeaway from this? What do we learn?

B. Small steps of faith can lead to great works of God in our lives.

Now let’s notice:

1. The Hopeless Situation 

2. The Hopeful Response 

3. Their Health Restored 

4. The Happy Return 

Luke 17:15-16 – And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

This is an emotional, passionate reply to an indescribable, life changing gift.

He returns and does two things:

1. He worships Jesus

2. He thanks Jesus

Powerful corporate worship is a result of intimate individual worship.

This man makes an individual response to come back to Jesus. He is by himself and he doesn’t care. Jesus has cured him and Jesus deserves his praise.

Luke 17:15 – With a LOUD Voice glorified God . . .

I like that. This cured leper suddenly didn’t care about ritual. He didn’t care about how he looked, who was watching, how strange he sounded . . . for he had been cured!

But, this lone leper knew exactly who deserved the praise in his life.

So he comes back shouting!

The great reformer, Martin Luther, was once asked to describe the nature of true worship.

His answer: “the tenth leper turning back.”

Worship must be a lifestyle of loving Jesus. Jesus is not a waiter hoping we will tip him with a little bit of our time and money. He’s not merely a cool wise guy in sandals who we can be fans of.  He is so much more!

He is King of Kings. He is worthy of ALL our praise and ALL our lives should be a living testimony to the glory of God and God alone.

Why? Because He is worthy!

Colossians 1:15-18 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

When we worship we . . .

Psalm 100:4 – Enter His gates with thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the gate by which we encounter the Presence of the Lord.

And the Lord reminds us,

Psalm 50:23 – Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.

I Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Now, at the beginning of this message I told you there is a secret something in life that science has proven will give you better health and a sharper mind.  And it’s free. You want to know what that something is? You probably guessed it, but I’ll tell you anyway… It’s thankfulness!!!

Thankfulness isn’t just a spiritual benefit, but it’s also healthy for you!

Do you know that millions of dollars have been spent on recent studies in having an attitude of gratitude. And the results are astounding!

So, you have some homework this week. Go home and make a list of 100 things you are thankful for. Now that may sound like a lot, until you realize just how much we are blessed.

Start thinking with an attitude of gratitude.

Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for ALL things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ

So what is our take away? So far we have seen that:

A. Obedience to God begins with a small step of faith.

B. Small steps of faith can lead to great works of God in our lives.

and now . . .

C. God deserves our praise and our thanksgiving for those daily works He does in and through each of our lives.


1.  The Hopeless Situation 

2.. The Hopeful Response 

3.  Their Health Restored 

4.  The Happy Return

5. The Healing Completed 


Luke 17:17-18 – 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

This is both a joyous and a sad part of the story.

These other nine represent for us an ungrateful spirit. They were happy to be healed, but not grateful enough to come back. They gladly received a cure, but failed to return to Christ.

I wonder how many of you have lost the joy of your salvation because somewhere along the way you got so comfortable in your Christianity that you allowed Jesus just to settle at the bottom of your life. The fire is no longer there…the joy isn’t what it once was…there is not a hunger for God in your life.

Perhaps it is because you have lost your attitude of gratitude.

Let me implore you to go back and rediscover the goodness of God in your life and begin to thank God for All things.

After all this…

Luke 17:19 – And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Story of Captain Eddie

All ten were cured, but only one was completely healed. He is the only one who experienced the healing touch of Jesus both inside and out, for that moment and for eternity.

He went back to Jesus, and Jesus was there for him.

And Jesus is here for you, too.

If you are lost, He is the way.

If you are searching for meaning, He is the truth

IF you are hopeless, He can make you whole.

And if you’ve walked away, Come back to Him. Let Him heal your heart and give you back a spirit of thankfulness. Don’t be like the other nine. Fall at His feet and worship Him today. Worship Him with a thankful heart!