Luke 17:11–19 (NKJV)
In this passage, Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem and passes near or between Samaria and Galilee. Ten lepers, exiled from life within their village, cry out to Jesus from a distance. There segregation was Jewish law, required in order to stop the spread of the dread disease. Jesus, not wasting any time, told them to go show themselves to the priest, the appropriate action for those wishing to be declared clean after being healed from leprosy. It is interesting to note that the story says that they were healed “as they went.” Of the ten, one returned after seeing his healing and fell before Jesus glorifying God for his healing. Jesus wondered out loud where the rest were. They had not returned to thank Jesus for their healing. He then sent the Samaritan along his way with a special blessing.
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!”Luke 17:11-19
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.”
A few things stand out in this story. Jesus’ path rarely just “happened” to run into people. He traveled with purpose, as evidenced by the story of the woman at the well and the story of the widow of Nain. In the world in which we live today, we often pass by people in need, not knowing necessarily that they will be there. But Jesus knows and leads us into their paths. We should be spiritually aware and see those opportunities to bless others as well. Also, Jesus did not hesitate to help these men in need. As soon as they called out to Him, He instructed them where to go and what to do to accomplish their healing. He approached individuals differently in many of the accounts of His healing the sick. Some He laid hands on, some He spoke to, others He put mud and spit on their blind eyes, others He had dip in a pool of water. Be obedient to whatever God speaks to your heart, and He will respond.
Additionally, we should look at the response of the lepers to Jesus command to go show themselves to the priest for ceremonial cleansing. The Scripture said that they were healed “as they went.” When we are commanded by God to go, we should go. The provision, healing, or deliverance of God may not be an instantaneous, dramatic event. It may happen “as we go.” Follow the words of Christ and receive. Finally, Jesus marveled, rather disappointedly, that only one came back to thank Jesus. If you receive a miracle or a blessing (which happens every day in reality), thank Jesus for His provision. The special blessings come from prayer in faith, but also from thankfulness and praise. Some people want to be praised because of their ego and self-importance. Jesus, however, is not an ego. He is the great God and Savior of the World. We should praise Him if we never receive another thing from Him, but especially when we see the miraculous, obvious blessings of God come into our lives. The Samaritan was considered a mixed-race stepchild of the Jewish people, but he came back to praise. Don’t let your spiritual pedigree be negated by your unwillingness to praise Him and show your gratitude for all that He has done for you. Jesus is worthy!
Artwork from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwv6JHIUk-I