imagesBy Em Sumaway

Our Gospel reading today can be summarized as follows.

It Starts with Ten Unclean Men (Lk. 17:11-13)

The account begins with ten unclean men, all of whom were lepers. This group of ten men are most likely composed of both Jews and Samaritans. This is notable since Jews and Samaritans would not normally live together. But as the saying goes, “Misery loves company,” and all ten were outcasts and driven away by their own people. But regardless of their miserable condition they still had hope because they trusted in Jesus’ power to heal them.

It Continues with Nine Ungrateful Men (Lk. 17:17)

Jesus commanded the men to show themselves to the priest, which is an act of faith itself since they were not cured yet. When they obeyed the command of the Lord, they were healed, for their obedience was the evidence of their faith. Now one would naturally expect all ten men to run back to Jesus and thank Him for this but only one did so.

It Closes with One Unusual Man (Lk. 17:15-19)

This Samaritan—a foreigner—shouted “Glory to God!” and fell at Jesus’ feet to praise Him and give Him thanks. It would have been so easy to just follow the other nine men and go to the temple to brag about the miracle they’ve experienced, or to go to places they’ve always wanted to go to or do things they were never able to do. But what he did first was to go back to Jesus and offer Him his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. I hope each of us is like this unusual man who gave thanks to God versus nine men who forgot to do so.

As I end this discourse, there’s one more thing I would like to point out in our Gospel passage. This is in relation to the difference in the tenses used for the word “cleansed” in verse 17 and the phrase “made you well” in verse 19. I would like to quote from the Annotated New Testament written by Dr. Gadiel Isidro:

While the nine lepers were cleansed, yet their healing was transitory. This is the thrust of the tense of the verb cleansed in v. 17. But healing of the tenth and a Samaritan was permanent. The verb healed in v. 19 is in the perfect tense. Further, the Greek word used here is sozo which is the word translated save. Could this also mean that the tenth leper was not only cleansed of his leprosy but was also saved in his soul? Why? Because he came back glorifying God.[1]

By coming to Jesus, the Samaritan received something far greater than physical healing. He was also saved from his sins. It is important to note that the Greek word translated, “made you well.” is the same word Jesus used when He spoke to the repentant woman who anointed His feet (Lk. 7:50). The Samaritan’s nine friends were declared clean by the priest, but he was declared saved by the Son of God! While it is wonderful to experience the miracle of physical healing, it is even more wonderful to experience the miracle of eternal salvation.[2]

I challenge you folks today to just pause and count your blessings. Then return to God recognizing that He is the source of all those blessings. At the same time let’s ask for His most wonderful gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, abounding with thanksgiving in our hearts knowing we don’t deserve any of it, and yet He lovingly offers it.

[1] Gadiel T. Isidro, Isidro Annotated New Testament (Dr. Gadiel T. Isidro, 2005), 117.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Chariot Victor Publishing).


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