Luke 17. 11-19

The Cleansing Of The 10 Lepers

Luke tells us of a visit that the Lord Jesus made to Jerusalem in the closing days of His public ministry. On the way He passed through Samaria and Galilee and came to a ‘certain village’ where ten lepers met him. Their disease meant that they were unclean and, as a result ‘they stood afar off ‘.

Lesson 1

What a picture these men are of all humankind. Before we were saved, we also ‘stood afar off’ from God because of our sinful condition. We were ‘without Christ … having no hope and without God in the world’, Eph. 2. 12.

I am sure that these men never forgot the place where they met the Saviour as He passed through their village.

Lesson 2

It is a lovely thing to remember the day in our own experience when we met the Lord*. It should encourage us to keep on trying to introduce others to Him.

In their dreadful condition and tremendous need, they all shouted to the Lord, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’. They were not to be disappointed! The Lord’s instruction, ‘Go shew yourselves unto the priest’, carried with it the implied promise of cleansing, Lev. 14. 2. The amazing result was that ’as they went, they were cleansed’. Their faith was demonstrated in their obedience to the Lord’s command – they set off to show themselves to the priest, before the miracle had actually taken place.

Lesson 3

This is a lovely picture of the believer. Just as these men were physically healed and cleansed, so a believer is cleansed from sin and brought near to God through faith in Christ.

There is, however, a bit of a twist in this story; it’s quite a shocking one. One of the ten ‘when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at Christ’s feet, giving him thanks’. There are a number of similar examples in Luke’s Gospel where people, who were blessed by the Lord, or saw blessing received by others, glorified God, 2. 20; 5. 25; 7. 16; 13. 13; 18. 43. But here is the shocking bit – only one came back to say ‘thank you’. The other nine continued on their way to the priest. Perhaps they were so excited about their cleansing that they were thinking about what would happen next. As cleansed lepers they would be able to go back to normal life. Their future had just changed from ‘hopeless’ to ‘rosy and bright’. They may have been so preoccupied with what their cleansing meant for them, that they forgot the One who had made it possible.

Lesson 4

We must beware of the danger of being so taken up with the fact that we have been blessed that we forget the One who is the source of these blessings.

The words of the Lord to the one leper who returned suggest how disappointed He was with the nine. ‘Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?’.

Lesson 5

The Lord desires gratitude and thankfulness from every believer for what He has done for them.

Overall Lesson

We must remember to thank God, in our personal times of Bible reading and prayer, for all of our blessings, both spiritual and material. It is also important to have regular fellowship with other believers, and to thank God for our blessings. It is essential that we thank God for the One who is the source of all our blessings - His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Where better to do this than on the first day of the week when we have the opportunity to remember the Lord together in the ‘breaking of bread’?

The Lord has done great things for us and at such a cost to Himself that He surely merits our praise and thankfulness. May we remember this simple lesson from the story of the thankful Samaritan leper.

*(Editor’s Note: Some may find it hard to locate the actual day of their salvation but can thank the Lord for their awareness of the need to repent and their present enjoyment of salvation)