Luke 17: 11 – 19 Jesus heals ten men with leprosy
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’
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In 1st century Palestine, suffering from leprosy had consequences beyond the physical effects of the illness. You were ritually unclean. That meant you couldn’t join in any of the community activities and, especially, you couldn’t join in the worship. You had to live outside the town or village. You were cut off from human contact except with others who had leprosy.(Leviticus 13: 1 – 46)
It was a terrible fate.
The ten lepers in this narrative had clearly banded together for mutual support. We are told that they lived on the border between Samaria and Galilee, and that one of them was a Samaritan. His presence in the group is interesting, because Jews would usually have nothing to do with Samaritans. Their shared misfortune seems to have drawn them together and overcome the usual hostility.
When they learned that Jesus was passing, they acted together to attract his attention. They stood respectfully at a distance, and cried out loudly, imploring Jesus’ pity.
Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests. This was what the law required to certify healing from leprosy (Leviticus 14:1 – 32). The lepers showed faith and obedience and set off to the priests. As they went, they realised that they had indeed been healed.
One of them – only one – came back to Jesus to thank him for the healing, and it was the Samaritan, the foreigner, the one that most Jews would despise and have nothing to do with. As a result of returning to give thanks and praise to God, he receives the special blessing of a word from Jesus. He is told that his faith has made him whole.
Through the life of Jesus you have shown us how great is your grace and mercy. Thank you for all the healing I have received, physical, emotional and spiritual.
In Jesus name, Amen