Healing Lepers

Luke 17:11-19

The scene has changed; Jesus and His party are on the road again travelling near the Samaritan border on the road to Jerusalem. Suddenly 10 lepers cry out to Jesus for mercy. He tells them to present themselves to the priests, and as they leave they are healed. One of them rushes back and throws himself at Jesus’ feet, giving praise to God and thanks to Jesus. Jesus takes note of the fact that only one in ten has seen fit to give praise to God and tells the man that his faith has healed him.

He was a Samaritan.

Please recall that as far as the Jews were concerned, Samaritans were unclean, dirty, nasty and more or less on a par with Gentile dogs.

We can speculate quite a lot about this story as many have. Was this man healed in more than one way? Were the others thankful? Did the man’s faith heal him in the first place or was it Jesus?

It appears to me that all 10 believed Jesus could heal them; they had heard the stories and the reports of what He had been doing, but this one man seems to have seen more than the others. Luke doesn’t give a great many details, but it seems likely that this man had come to realize that Jesus was at least God’s special representative; maybe he saw that Jesus was the Messiah.

One thing is quite clear however: This man, though he was only a Samaritan slime, had enough faith to be healed of leprosy and made clean again, not only from the disease, but from being a Samaritan. “Faith as small as a mustard seed…”

I’m guessing this probably made an impression on the disciples as they recalled Jesus’ words in the previous passage.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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6 Responses to Healing Lepers

  1. The fact that the one who returned was a Samaritan could also reflect that it was in fact, someone who was considered by many to be an unbeliever who recognised who Jesus was and that to be healed by him was truly a gift from God indeed. It is possible that the other 9, who were Jews as far as we know, thought that healing was their right, as after all they were part of the nation chosen by God. Sometimes, as Christian, we too can fall into the trap of thinking that God’s action in our life is our right as a child of God (which it is, in a way) but this does not mean that we should not be thankful for every blessing we receive, no matter how small.

  2. Bette Cox says:

    As a Samaritan, what priest would he have gone to? Just wondering.

    • Don Merritt says:

      An excellent question. They would need to see a priest for only a priest could declare them clean so they might re-enter society. The man who came back to Jesus was a Samaritan, but we don’t know about the other 9. It is possible that the one came back because he couldn’t have gone to Jerusalem.

  3. Mel Wild says:

    Another remarkable point in this story is Jesus’ faith. When He said, “were not ten cleansed?” But Jesus hadn’t actually seen any of them get healed (they were healed as they went). This tells us a lot about the nature of real faith.

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