BUT WHERE ARE THE NINE?
Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
Susie: Throughout the book of Luke we have seen Jesus progressing toward Jerusalem. He traveled there and then back to Galilee, but now He is at the point of making the final trek to fulfill the purpose of His incarnation—to die for us on the cross in Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51 As the day of His ascension approached, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Susan: This final journey led Him near His home region of Galilee (Nazareth was in Galilee) and the area known as Samaria. You may recall that Samaritans were despised by the Jews as half-breeds who had intermarried with Gentiles and did not worship at the temple in Jerusalem. In fact, they had blended pagan customs with Judaism. Jews would often travel out of their way to avoid passing through Samaria.
Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
Leviticus 13:45 (Berean Study Bible) The diseased person must wear torn clothes and let his hair hang loose, and he must cover his mouth and cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!'
Susie: The entire chapter of Leviticus 13 describes the various skin diseases that were considered “leprosy” and how the priests were to deal with those infected. These do not seem to necessarily be what we now call Hansen’s Disease because the people were not crippled by the loss of fingers, toes, etc. They were not like the pictures we see of lepers from third world countries who have suffered the loss of digits or even limbs. These lepers were able to walk about.
Susan: According to the descriptions in Leviticus 13, before I had my diseased legs amputated, I would have been declared an unclean leper in Biblical times! Removing my legs to just above the knee was life-altering, but it was also life-saving. I thank the Lord for the courage He gave me to make that decision.
Luke 17:13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
Susan: These lepers addressed Jesus as “Master.” Luke uses the Greek equivalent of the Jewish “Rabbi” in this instance.
Susie: They were acknowledging Jesus as a great teacher but not necessarily as Messiah. However, they did trust in His ability to heal them.
Luke 17:14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
Susie: Jesus did not, as He had on a previous occasion (Matthew 8:2-3), touch and heal them on the spot. Instead He commanded them to show themselves to the priest in order to be declared clean.
Susan: As the ten lepers were obedient to Jesus by walking to show themselves to the priest, their leprosy disappeared. The requirement was to do what Jesus had instructed.
Susie: All ten demonstrated a measure of faith by walking away still leprous. The healing did not occur until they began the journey to the priest.
Susan: The desired healing did not take place until they moved forward by faith.
Luke 17:15-16 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
Susan: The one man who returned glorified God and fell in grateful worship at Jesus’s feet. I believe in this act, he was declaring his trust in Jesus as Messiah, as God.
Susie: The presumption is that the other nine lepers were Jews who sadly were too focused on being declared “clean” by the priest to take the time to return and give thanks. It seems they were in a hurry to get back to a normal social life.
Luke 17:17-18 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
Susan: Jesus must have been saddened that nine of His own countrymen did not take time to return and thank Him.
Susie: Only the Samaritan who was viewed as having the same status as a Gentile unbeliever returned. Jesus asks rhetorically, “. . . but where are the other nine?” Then He turns His attention to the Samaritan man who is now healed of his leprosy.
Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Susan: The leper who turned back to give praise to God and to worship at Jesus’s feet received not only physical healing but was made whole in every way. He received salvation from sin and familyship with Jesus for eternity.
Susie: The wording for “made thee whole” is the word of “saved” or “delivered” (see Strong’s Greek 4982). All ten had a belief that Jesus had the power to heal their leprosy. However, the Samaritan by returning and worshiping at Jesus’s feet demonstrated that his trust went further, to see Jesus as Savior. I believe we will meet this man when we leave this world to be with the Lord.
Susan: The Samaritan went “all-in” and received the treasure of the healing of his heart as well as his earth-suit.
Ponder this and Apply it: It is possible to be healed outwardly without being saved. In other words, it is possible to believe God for temporary things without completely throwing oneself to His mercy for salvation from sin, surrendering one’s entire being to Him as Lord. When one realizes the depth of Jesus’s love demonstrated by sacrificing His life for us on the cross, dying in our place, the response is to fall at His feet in thanksgiving and praise. If you have not experienced this deliverance from sin and the adoption into God’s forever family, surrender your life to Him today. If you have any questions about how to be saved, please contact us through our website: