Summary: A study of the Gospel of Luke 17: 11 – 19
Luke 17: 11 – 19
When It Is Right To Be A Copy Cat
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
I will tell you one thing that gets my goat – ungrateful people! I have been serving men, women, and children for over 28 years now [not that I am counting]. It is an honor to serve the Lord by being one of His servants. However, I am not a piece of dirt where people can just expect me to return evil for the good I do for them. Forgive me, but that is just something I haven’t been able to overcome in my life.
Today, you guessed it. We are going to talk about such people so as we pray, please also pray for me because I want to be like Ezra and smack them.
Leprosy was held in horror by all, and skin diseased men and women were seen as to be avoided. In both Jewish and Samaritan Law they were expected to avoid human company, except for their own kind, and to call ‘unclean, unclean’ so as to warn people to keep away from them. In the book of Leviticus chapter 13 verses 43-46 we read, Then the priest shall examine it; and indeed if the swelling of the sore is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, as the appearance of leprosy on the skin of the body, 44 he is a leprous man. He is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his sore is on his head. 45 “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
For in both Jewish and Samaritan Law skin disease rendered them permanently ritually unclean. They could neither live among men nor approach the Dwelling place of God. And any who came in contact with them became ‘unclean’ and unable to enter the Temple until they again became clean.
There are a number of indications in the Old Testament that Israel was seen as the equivalent of people with leprosy. Isaiah could cry out in chapter 64 verse 6, ‘We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags’
So when ten skin diseased men will approach our Lord Jesus for healing, including one stranger, we may well see behind it the intention of depicting not only Israel, but the world in its need, a need which can only be healed by the Messiah.
There may also be intended a reminder of the fact that a greater than Elisha was here. Elisha had enabled the healing of a skin diseased man in which we read about in the book of 2 Kings chapter 5, and he also a ‘stranger’. Although Elisha had not done it by his word. Rather he had sent him to wash seven times in the Jordan. He had put him firmly in the hands of God, and God had healed him. And he, like the Samaritan here, had returned to give thanks. But here our Lord Jesus takes the healing on Himself. It is He Who heals them at a distance.
We have become so used to healing miracles that probably not one reader stops in wonder at what happened here. Ten men whose lives were devastated by skin disease receive their lives back again, and all at a word from our Jehovah Rapha – The Lord our Healer. His signs and wonders continue. And yet unquestionably in this section they are only mentioned because they have another lesson to teach.
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.