Jesus Heals the Ten Lepers Luke 17:11-19
Updated: Oct 2
The years of misery have blended together that I no longer know my own age, but I don't even care. Would that God would allow me to die rather than suffer another day being a leper. My existence feels meaningless, and I am in constant despair. My entire body is numb that I don't even feel when mice are gnawing at my toes. There is no stopping the dry cracked oozing wounds, and I feebly try to bandage myself. The far greatest heartache is that my family can't come close, nor would I want to allow them to see my marred visage. The best part of my life comes when I can sleep. I dream of years gone by when I could hold my wife's hand and touch her face. I relive hugging my small children and taking turns placing them on my neck on our evening walks after dinner instructing them about life. That was many years ago and now it is them who instruct me to pray for a touch from God. My close companions are now nine others, and we prefer to stay out of the leper colony. Life is worse when you hear crying through the night and wailing of those new to the colony. Living among some shady trees of Samaria is my home and a rock is my pillow. We thank God for our family members who bring us food. There have been repeated messages that there is a Jewish prophet named Jesus who heals the crippled, the blind, the deaf and even the leper! The reports are that he is coming this way, and that he even dared to cross the border into Samaria once before. We have been told of the town of Sychar where people proclaim healings and changed lives. Would this Jesus not think it a disgrace to come here yet again? We all decide to camp outside the village that lies near the border of Galilee and just wait- maybe God will have mercy on us. “God please have mercy on us,” I beg looking up.
It’s around noon, and we hear laughter and songs from a procession coming along the path up the hill. Could it be? But laughter and songs? Not piety, sobriety and robes and religious fanfare of horses? This is not what we expected - nor did the man in the center of attention look anything but ordinary. Looking up to Heaven, I whisper, “God is this who we are to meet?”
With great conviction, we knew this was our chance! All ten of us stand and at a safe distance, we wave our arms yelling for his attention,"Jesus, Sir, have mercy on us!"
He immediately stops and focuses his full attention on us! With complete assurance, Jesus states, "Go to the Jewish priest and show him that you are healed!"
We look at ourselves and not one is changed, but we BELIEVE! Joy and tears of laughter break over our faces which have not been experienced in years. We scramble over each other trying to race to Jerusalem. The one who is in the lead of our pack gains position for only mere seconds for he is outrun by another and then yet again passed by someone else as adrenaline races through our bodies with new found energy. With every step, we get faster and stronger. Our bodies are healing as we move; we start jumping on one another in pure joy and stumble into a big clumsy heap only to race to get up again to be first to see the priest. Our happiness has no bounds, and we all keep running our hands over our smooth arms and face! Our fervency to be declared healed and join society again is overwhelming. I look up and yell to God, "THANK YOU!" and fall to my knees crying with gratitude unable to speak. I watch my friends continue onward. I must go back - I must thank Jesus- I must go back! I stumble as I stand because I can't get my feet to work as fast as my heart wants them to, and I race back. With elation I scream my praise for all to see,"Glory to God, I'm healed!". Coming upon the procession once again and with no inhibition to get close, I throw myself face down at Jesus' feet. He had mercy on a despised Samaritan. "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your mercy upon my life!"
Jesus lowers himself and gently laying his hand on my shoulder, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?" Helping me up to face him, he states, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well."
I knew that I serve a God who hears, sees and desires to help me out of my troubles. He touched me physically, emotionally and spiritually that afternoon, and I will tell the world of the great and mighty God that lives.
Questions for Reflection:
Do we see people as part of groups or divisions or do we care about people outside of boundaries - looking for the welfare of everyone? Is our focus on the hearts of people finding the hope that is found in Christ to help them on their journey of life?
How often do we find ourselves praising God for his provision and gifts? Think about how many times you thanked God today? Can it be improved? Did He take the stormy trial away and in your joy you forgot to seek him the very next day?
This story is only found in the book of Luke chapter 17:11-19. Once again, this is another example of showing the world that Jesus didn't come to the Earth to offer salvation to just the Jewish nation. The Samaritans were a despised race by the Jews for they were Jewish people who married outside of the faith. Jesus saw past all "races" and beliefs which the Bible describes as the Gentiles. He came for the "whole world" as we read:
John 3:16 " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
These ten men were listening to people who shared good news, and then they sought it for themselves, and lastly, they believed. Their healing didn't come immediately for they were told to go to the priests before they even had evidence of healing. They decided to believe in the unseen promise and for their faith they were healed. In the Old Testament, Joshua was told to cross the Jordan River before the water separated like it did for Moses at the Red Sea. He had to trust God and have the men holding the Ark step into the water before the river began to separate allowing the Jewish nation to pass over the river bed. (Joshua 3:14) Do we have faith that God will work in our impossible situations? There are two factors that "we must learn". We must learn to pray and expect God to work in the problem before us. Secondly, we must learn to wait and move on with confidence that the Lord has a glory to God moment that will occur. Taking matters into your own hands without prayer and waiting will keep you in bondage of stress, anxiety and maybe despair.
Something to think about is how often we miss the opportunity of meeting someone that is super interesting and full of talent because they don’t look like anything extraordinary. Each person is a gift to this world, and a person who is truly blessed is the one who makes it a point to meet others and gain a variety of fun friendships. You never know how one person can change your life!
Another important lesson to take away from this story is the one of gratefulness. How often a problem is dissolved, and we forget to go to God and thank Him for the work completed in taking the problem away. If a person is starving they are more likely to pray for food diligently, but if food is plentiful they may forget to even thank Him for it. Consider the gift of your family, friends, pets, or nature all around you. Just stopping to enjoy a bee landing on a flower, the sound of waves washing ashore, or the twinkling stars above- it all should naturally breathe out a praise to God. God doesn't need our thanksgiving, but if a person has a heart of thanksgiving and appreciation then that person has a heart that is not centered on themselves. We gain more revelation of our God's Spirit when we are "others focused" which reflects the Father and Son who exemplify putting others first in their great love. The Father seeks over the whole Earth for hearts that are set on Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) If we set our hearts after the Father and Son, then we will be able to reflect their character and touch other people for Christ the way our God has touched us.
Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
2 Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
Read the account as it is written in the Bible: