Faith and Gratitude



Luke 17:11–19

“Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well’” (vv. 17–19).


While traveling south from Galilee to Jerusalem to atone for the sins of His people (Luke 9:51–19:27), Jesus taught the truths of the kingdom of God and performed miracles. In today’s passage, Luke records one of these miracles, the healing of ten lepers.

Luke tells us that while passing between Samaria and Galilee, Jesus “was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance” (17:11–12). The lepers kept their distance because under the old covenant, leprosy rendered one ceremonially unclean, so lepers did not come into direct contact with healthy individuals (Lev. 13:45–46; Num. 5:1–4). Seeing Jesus, the lepers cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). They wanted to be delivered from their affliction.

Compassionately, Jesus did have mercy on the lepers, telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. This was because the Mosaic law dictated that once a person no longer had leprosy, he was to go to a priest for verification that he had become clean (Lev. 13). Jesus commanded them to go to the priests before they were actually healed; the miracle occurred as they were going away from Jesus to the priests (Luke 17:14).

That was not the last exchange between Jesus and the lepers, however—at least not all of them. Luke reports that one, a Samaritan, turned back, praising God and thanking Jesus for the healing. Since the Jews considered Samaritans unclean, this was a remarkable occurrence, and even Jesus marveled at it (vv. 15–18). As we have seen in our study of Luke’s gospel, many Jews, especially the Jewish leaders, rejected Jesus (e.g., see 16:14–15), but here a non-Jew responded to the Savior in faith. His response foreshadowed the conversion of many Samaritans after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 8:4–8).

After receiving thanks from the Samaritan who had been cured, Jesus replied that his faith had made him well or, more literally, “saved him” (Luke 17:19). Our Lord must have been referring to something more than that the Samaritan was healed physically through his faith in Jesus. All ten lepers were restored, even those who did not come back to Jesus to thank Him for their healing (v. 14). They all received a physical benefit, but only the Samaritan is singled out for his faith. This seems to indicate that the salvation Jesus meant went beyond physical healing. Because the Samaritan trusted Jesus, he received eternal salvation, not just physical cleansing.




Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Matthew Henry comments on the speed with which the Samaritan showed gratitude to Christ after being healed of his leprosy: “We ought to give thanks for the favors Christ bestows upon us, and particularly for recoveries from sickness; and we ought to be speedy in our returns of praise, and not defer them, lest time wear out the sense of the mercy.” When the Lord blesses us, let us quickly acknowledge it and thank Him.


Faith and Gratitude

Fairfield Church, PCA

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