The Ten Lepers Cleansed

The Ten Lepers Cleansed (Lk.17:11-19)

The better part of our lives as adults consists of duties.  We have little choice: we have hardly finished our work, or when the next duty is already awaiting us.  Many people do little more than move from one duty to another all their lives.  And when a person scrupulously fulfills all those duties and tasks he is praised for his diligence.

No matter how diligent such a person is, he misses something that is indispensable.  We only become truly human when we add to all we MUST do something we WANT to do, without anyone telling us to do it.

When the ten leprous men had been cleansed of their illness by Jesus, they were told to go and show themselves to the priests.  That was the commandment in the law.

But one of them goes beyond the duty and does something of his own accord: he comes back to give thanks.  No one has told him to do so.  And it is certainly not just a formality he observes, for he falls prostrate at the feet of Jesus and thanks Him from the bottom of his heart.  You can’t bow down deeper than that.  You can’t be more convincing in your thankfulness.

All who fulfill their duty are cleansed.  But are they also healed?  Only this one human being, who gives thanks with heart and soul, hears the redeeming words from Jesus: “Your faith has made you well.” (RSV—Greek sesōken, saved)

And we, when we receive His medicine that makes whole, the Sacrament, are we then able to give thanks to Him with heart and soul?


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, September 13, 2020

2 replies
  1. Johanna Geers
    Johanna Geers says:

    Perhaps the real and the whole healing comes when we can say “Thanks”. Not earlier. That IS perhaps the healing!! I know what a physical “prostration” is. It seems to be healthy for the body too. Now I am older and this physical prostration is a little difficult to do. 😉 But perhaps more powerful is the “inner ” prostration. Thank you Bastiaan.

  2. Chuck Hansen
    Chuck Hansen says:

    I think its important to understand this story that the leper who returned was a Samaritan. From the English Aramaic New Testament: Luke 17:13-19 with footnotes
    “13. And they raised their voices and said, “Our master Y’shua, have mercy on us!” 14. And when he saw them he said to them, “Go show yourselves to the priests,” and they were cleansed while they were going.107 15. But one of them, when he saw that he was cleansed returned and with a loud voice was giving praise to Elohim. 16. And he fell upon his face before the feet of Y’shua, while thanking him. And he, this man, was a Samaritan. 17. And Y’shua answered and said, “Were there not ten who were cleansed? Where are the nine? 18. For what did they separate108 that they should come and give praise to Elohim? Only this man did who is from a foreign people.109 19. And he said to him, ‘Arise. Go. Your faith has given you life.’”110”.

    107 By calling upon Y’shua as their “Master” in advance of the healing, the lepers earned their new lives. The Ruach haKodesh puts belief within us, but then we are required to “act upon” or exercise faith in what we believe. See Matthew 9:29. 108 Y’shua asks about the nine who did not return, “For what did they separate…?” The word perysh, is the same root word for the name of the “Pharisees” who claim to be “separated” unto YHWH. In one way, Y’shua is not referring only to the lepers, but points out that a Samaritan (Gentile) chose to “be separate” and give thanks to YHWH, even while the Pharisees claim to be “separate” but reject Mashiyach! Nine men did not return to give thanks to YHWH; they were one short of a Pharisee “minyan” required for prayer. The action of the one Samaritan showed himself as one who is truly “separate!” 109 Khabouris has an isolated samekh here, between the words “give” and “praise”. 110 Not “made you well” as most Greek translations read, instead faith has given you “life”; the healing was not the goal, just a bonus.


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