Luke 17: “Where Are The Other Nine?”

Found only in the Gospel of Luke stands the story of ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. Before we begin you have to know, ten were healed, but only one was freed.

Luke 17:11-14 (NLT) 11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

These lepers understand the rules. They were outside the village like they were supposed to. They kept their distance like they were supposed to; and they understood something about Jesus that most people to this day still miss… He is Master. 

So they didn’t reach out for Jesus, they didn’t touch Jesus, Jesus didn’t even touch them, he simply said, go show yourselves to the priest. Jesus was asking them to step (literally) out on faith and obediently walk towards the Temple. So that’s what they did! Now, in my mind’s eye, I like to picture all ten lepers being healed with step, after obedient step, towards the Temple. If the story stopped here, this would be a good story, but it doesn’t.

Luke 17:15-19 (NLT) 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

Wait, Jesus healed ten men, but only one came back? To add on top of that, the one who came back was a Samaritan? A Samaritan! Luke really wants to accentuate this point. It’s like saying, “this man was a Cowboy’s fan!” Sorry, I’m an Eagles fan… Don’t judge me!

Jesus healed ten men, but only one came back, and it was the one who was least likely to return and give him Praise.

You’re What?

I can’t prove this, but I wonder what that moment was like as they walked together. It’s assumed they walked together, but I picture them walking, looking at each other, realizing they’re healed they start to get a little excited. Suddenly the Samaritan says, “I’m going back.” “You’re what?, the others say.” The Samaritan looks around at the other Lepers, “How can I not go back!? I finally have my life back! I can go home to my family and see my wife and children again!”

There was so much for the Samaritan to be thankful for, and he knew just who to thank, but something greater than physical healing happened that day.

Think About This

Ten were healed that day, but only one came back. The other nine went off, free from leprosy, but not necessarily free from sin through salvation that only Jesus can offer. The one who returned was not only healed physically, but now his faith had healed him spiritually! Not only was his body made whole, but his soul was restored upon his return to the Lord.

May we never forget the origins of our healing; may we never forget that Jesus is Master; and may we never take for granted the very thing the Leper’s asked for, mercy.