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Ten Lepers Healed​—One Shows Gratitude

Ten Lepers Healed​—One Shows Gratitude

LUKE 17:11-19


Frustrating the Sanhedrin’s plans to kill him, Jesus travels to the city of Ephraim, somewhat northeast of Jerusalem. He stays there with his disciples, away from his enemies. (John 11:54) However, the time for the Passover of 33 C.E. is approaching, so Jesus is soon on the move again. He travels northward through Samaria and up into Galilee, his last visit to this area prior to his death.

Early in the trip, while Jesus is traveling from one village to another, he encounters ten men who have leprosy. In some of its forms, this disease can result in gradual loss of body tissue, such as that of the fingers, toes, or ears. (Numbers 12:10-12) God’s Law requires that a leper call out “Unclean, unclean!” and that he live in isolation.​—Leviticus 13:45, 46.

Accordingly, the ten lepers keep at a distance from Jesus. Yet, they cry out loudly: “Jesus, Instructor, have mercy on us!” On seeing the lepers, Jesus directs them: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 17:13, 14) He thus shows respect for God’s Law, which authorizes the priests to pronounce as cured lepers who have recovered from their illness. Then they can once again live among healthy people.​—Leviticus 13:9-17.

The ten lepers have confidence in Jesus’ miraculous powers. They head off to see the priests, even before they have been healed. While they are on the way, their faith in Jesus is rewarded. They begin to see and feel that they have been restored to health!

Nine of the cleansed lepers continue on their way. One does not. This man, a Samaritan, returns to look for Jesus. Why? The man is deeply grateful to Jesus for what has happened. The former leper is “glorifying God with a loud voice,” realizing that God is actually responsible for his restored health. (Luke 17:15) When he finds Jesus, he falls down before him, thanking him.

To those around him, Jesus says: “All ten were cleansed, were they not? Where, then, are the other nine? Did no one else turn back to give glory to God except this man of another nation?” Then Jesus tells the Samaritan: “Get up and be on your way; your faith has made you well.”​—Luke 17:17-19.

By healing the ten lepers, Jesus shows that he has Jehovah God’s backing. Now one of the ten is not only healed through Jesus’ act but is likely on the way to life. We are not living at a time when God is using Jesus to perform such healings. However, by faith in Jesus, we can be on the way to life​—everlasting life. Do we show that we are grateful, as that Samaritan man did?