When Jesus Healed Ten Lepers

Sometimes when you read a Bible story, do you wonder how it could have anything to do with you? Like today’s story. I’m glad that Jesus healed the ten lepers. But how does that affect me?

Somebody counted in the gospels that Jesus healed 26 different times. And I’m sure not all of His healings were recorded. In this particular instance, He healed ten people at the same time. 

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16

As children, while traveling on family vacations my brother and I would play a little game. We observed license plates on passing cars.

The object was to count the different states other cars traveled from. I think our parents came up with the idea to keep us occupied, at least for a while.

The closer we got to a state line, it seemed like we saw a larger variety of states represented. In this story, as Jesus and His disciples traveled they came to a border.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. Luke 17:11

Evidently, His reputation preceded Him. Because when they came to a town, ten lepers shouted to Him wanting to be healed.

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Who were these Lepers Healed by Jesus?

As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Luke 17:12-13

These men could have represented ten nationalities. But chances are, nine of them were Jewish. Namely because once healed, Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest.

He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. Luke 17:14

So, Jesus didn’t touch them or even say anything about their healing. But verse 14 said as they went their skin became clear.

Our verse for today says one of them returned to Jesus. If he had been driving a car, his license plate would have been different that the others. Because this man was a Samaritan.

A Samaritan, One of the Lepers Healed by Jesus

Why did Luke find it important to say that he was from Samaria? Maybe because Jewish people despised Samaritans and the disciples may not have expected that type of response from him.

As far as Jesus was concerned, his nationality was immaterial. Jesus healed all ten lepers without any prejudice.

But why did only one of them return to Jesus? I see a two-fold emphasis on why this man, a Samaritan came back to the Lord.

First, for all practical purposes, this incurable disease banished this man from having a normal life. It limited his social connections to people in the same condition as him.

It also superseded any kind of prejudices of race and nationality. Once a person contracted leprosy, for the most part, they really only had each other.

The second reason isn’t as obvious. Anyone cleansed of a skin disease had to go before the priest so he could declare them clean.

The following instructions are for those seeking ceremonial purification from a skin disease. Those who have been healed must be brought to the priest, who will examine them at a place outside the camp. Leviticus 14:2-3

Because this man was a Samaritan, he couldn’t go to the priest. So what could he do? He went to the source of his healing. He fell at the feet of one greater than even the High Priest—Jesus.

Why His Healing Is Important to Us

Jesus healed ten lepers

Put yourself in the shoes of this Samaritan, one of the ten lepers healed by Jesus. He contracted a disease that got worse as life went on. His body was destined to rot away while still alive.

Grateful for his healing, he ran back to Jesus shouting, “Praise God!  And the Lord asked His disciples the following question.

“Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:17-18

How do or did we fit into this man’s shoes? Before we had an encounter with Jesus, our lives were rotting away. Not with leprosy, but with sin.

Leprosy, however, can only kill the body while sin damns the soul. Just like Jesus healed these ten lepers, He’ll cleanse us from all our sins.

This Samaritan immediately went back to Jesus, praising, and thanking Him. We too should find ourselves praising and thanking Him daily.

Even if you can’t think of anything to be thankful for at the moment, take a deep breath and thank Him for it. Now, take a look at how Jesus ended this story.

And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Luke 17:19

Jesus healed this man, one of the ten lepers and cleansed him of his leprosy. What about your story? He offers us healing and He’ll also save us and cleanse us from all our sins.

Lord, thank you for cleansing our lives of our sins and making a way for us to spend eternal life with you.

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