He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Thank God for giving us this passage that helps us think about the meaning of giving thanks. In this passage Jesus heals ten lepers dramatically with the power of His word. But this passage focuses more how they responded before and after being healed. When we think about one foreigner who went out of his way to come back and thank Jesus, and about Jesus’ response to him, we learn a great secret of the blessed life. Let’s pray to find this secret together as we study this passage.
1. Read verses 11-13. Where did Jesus travel on the way to Jerusalem? (11; 9:51)
Describe the people who met him (12)? How did they call out to Jesus? (13)
1-1, Read verses 11-13.
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
1-2, Where did Jesus travel on the way to Jerusalem? (11; 9:51)
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.
Jesus had made a firm decision to obey God’s will and die on the cross in Jerusalem, as Luke 9:51 says, “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”
Jesus was now on his final approach to Jerusalem, where he faced the cross. He never forgot the reason why he came into this world, which was to serve and to save God’s sheep through His suffering and death on the cross.
Luke says that Jesus was on the border between Samaria and Galilee. Galileans, who were Jews, did not get along very well with Samaritans.
Jews held deeply rooted prejudices against the Samaritans because they were not pure Jews.
It had to do with the spiritual corruption of the Samaritans who did not worship God according the Bible’s directions.
The Jews thought that God would not accept the Samaritans. But Jesus repeatedly showed His love toward the Samaritans.
There is a great spiritual meaning in Jesus’ traveling along the border between Samaria and Galilee.
It anticipates the reconciliation Jesus would bring between Jews and Samaritans, and between Jews and Gentiles.
Ephesians 2:14 says,
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility....”
2018 elections in the United States will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. This election shows is that our nation is deeply divided between conservative and liberal values.
People are choosing sides, drawing lines, and fostering deep distrust for the people on the other side.
But like Jesus’ mindset, we should be deeply sorrowed when we see biblical values being lost in our society. Jesus came to seek and save what was lost.
One of our great thanks topics would be that he did not make most of us politicians, but Bible teachers.
Surely the best way to restore godly values to this nation is to teach the Bible itself, and to disciple young people until they become Jesus’ disciples.
As a matter of fact, God blessed America richly when she sent her best young people out as missionaries. May the Lord bless America and to be strong and great by serving God’s world mission purpose!
1-3, Describe the people who met him (12)?
12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance
Jesus was met on his way by ten lepers. Leviticus 13:45-46 say, “The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”
Until this chronic debilitating skin disease was cured, they could not have any hope for the future. They could not get married. They could not attend school. They were separated from their families.
Although we are not physically leprous patients, being a leper is one of the Bible’s analogies for the spiritual condition of being a sinner, for our sins really disfigured my life inside out.
As lepers were separated from the rest of society, sinners are separated from God by their sins, and thus truly alone.
Like a leper in Bible times, a person who is under the very power of sin has no future prospects, because the wrath of God has remained upon him.
Interestingly, these ten lepers were consisted of both Jews and Samaritans. They were no longer Jew or Samaritan but they had something common that they were lepers.
The Jewish lepers could no longer pretend that they were holier than the Samaritans, because they too were now considered unclean under the law.
In fact, being humble and being aware of our neediness may be the beginning of God’s work of grace in our lives.
One day these lepers heard that Jesus was coming to their region. They must have heard how he had healed other people with leprosy.
New hope sprung up in their hearts. As Jesus entered their village, they formed a welcoming committee by standing in formation some distance away.
1-4, How did they call out to Jesus? (13)
13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
They were forbidden to come close to others because of their condition. But in their own way they came to Jesus with sincerity to ask his help. “They all called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’” (13)
Such an effort and such a cry is the expression of faith beginning to grow in their hearts. They honored Jesus as “Master” and believed that he had power to heal them.
They knew they had no right to demand such a blessing; all they could ask for was pity. Yet they had hope enough in Jesus’ compassion to ask for this pity with a loud voice.
2. Read verses 14-16. How did Jesus respond and why? (14a; Lev 13:17) What
happened when they obeyed Jesus(14b)? What did one of them do (15-16)?
What can we learn from this man?
2-1, Read verses 14-16.
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
2-2, How did Jesus respond and why? (14a; Lev 13:17)
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
When Jesus heard the ten lepers calling out from a distance, he did not keep walking.
Jesus saw them, his heart was moved by their cry, and he decided to heal them. Jesus never ignores the cry for mercy.
Jesus is always ready to pour out grace on those who come to him, even when he is on his way to Jerusalem.
And as they went, they were cleansed.” What a strange way for Jesus to heal them. Jesus did not even lay his hands on the ten lepers.
Jesus only commanded them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” Why did Jesus do it this way?
Practically, what Jesus told them to do was to fulfill the Levitical law of cleansing. Jesus told these lepers to go ahead and start to do what they would do if they were already healed. By this, Jesus showed how we must be healed by faith.
Leviticus 13:2, 17 read,
“When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a bright spot on his skin that may become an infectious skin disease, he must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest… The priest is to examine him, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the infected person clean; then he will be clean.”
2-3, What happened when they obeyed Jesus(14b)?
And as they went, they were cleansed.
According to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The word translated “being sure” literally means “substance”.
Our faith is what gives substance to what we cannot yet see. Faith is what reaches out and grabs what God has promised us and makes it a present reality.
Faith is not a passive but an active quality. Faith is spiritual conquest. The lepers’ obedience to Jesus’ word as if they were already cleansed is an excellent example of the act of faith.
Jesus wanted the lepers to be physically healed and restored to healthy life in society. But more than that, he wanted them to be changed into spiritual men through faith.
So Jesus taught them to trust and obey his word, having faith in what they did not see. These 10 lepers might have been surprised at Jesus’ words.
In obeying Jesus’ command to show themselves to the priest, they took hold of a reality that was not yet visible.
Likewise we must look at the cross and believe in the power of Jesus’ blood. We cannot be healed from sin by only sitting down and looking at our sin, but by following Jesus by faith.
Then, one day, we realize that some sinful habit is gone. We are changed! It’s a miracle that happens while we are walking in the obedience of faith.
We may look so insignificant in this world, but by faith we know that are a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, and we can and must live like we are.
2-4, What did one of them do (15-16)?
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
The ten lepers were all great in a way, because they all obeyed Jesus’ command by faith and received healing from leprosy as a result.
But one of them went further; he even did something Jesus did not command him to do.
This former leper, purely on his own initiative, made an extra trip back to Jesus, going out of his way just to thank him.
His thanksgiving was not superficial. His heart was overflowing with gratitude to Jesus. Throwing himself at Jesus’ feet was an act of surrender.
The Samaritan’s response was most appropriate. He knew he was nothing but a man with leprosy. He could not do anything to help himself.
Jesus had healed him purely out of his divine mercy. Now, by the grace of Jesus, the man had a new life. So he came back and gave his new life to Jesus.
When this leper was healed, he realized that Jesus himself was the truly worthy focus of his life’s attention.
2-5, What can we learn from this man?
He surrendered himself fully to Jesus and worshipped Jesus. Nobody forced him to do this. Rather he took an initiative to give thanks to Jesus. He set a good example for us to follow. May the Lord raise up disciple whose hearts are filled with thanks.
3. Read verses 17-19. What does Jesus expect from those who have been
cleansed? (17-18) How did Jesus bless this man (19)? Why is it so important to
give thanks to God?
3-1, Read verses 17-19.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
3-2, What does Jesus expect from those who have been cleansed? (17-18)
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Jesus expected all of them to come back with thanks. But they quickly forgot about it, and then before long, they forgot about Jesus himself.
It is not God who will suffer if we neglect to give him thanks, but ourselves. Those who do not thank God do not grow and suffer loss.
Romans 1:21 says,
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Often times we only remember how we have been hurt and done wrong and become miserable.
All ten received a blessing from Jesus, but only one of them maintained that blessing.
Maintaining our relationship with God is a matter of thanksgiving. The happiness of getting what we’ve longed for in this world will not produce any lasting good.
The American forefathers had a difficult time to pioneer this land. The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony suffered a 50% fatality rate their first winter in America.
But they held onto Matthew 6:33, and God helped them overcome the situation with faith.
The next fall, after harvesting some crops, they held a thanksgiving celebration to God, even though they were so busy even to survive. God blessed their thanksgiving and poured out his grace on America.
3-3, How did Jesus bless this man (19)?
19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The Samaritan’s faith had made him well, not just physically but spiritually. “Made well” means “to be saved.” He received assurance of forgiveness of sins from Jesus.
The relationship he made with Jesus through thanksgiving bore fruit of salvation and eternal life.
Nine lepers were healed physically, but their hearts were still sick. But this Samaritan leper became wholesome inside out.
3-4, Why is it so important to give thanks to God?
Giving thanks to God helps us to come closer to God. Even among human relationship, gratitude is ultimately about connection. It helps us to be more connected each other to form the unity.
By his plea he is made clean, by his faith he is saved. The man was a Samaritan and a social outcast suffering from leprosy. Only this foreigner receives the full blessing of Jesus.
Many scholars believe that the author of this book, Luke was a Greek. It was widely accepted that the Luke and the Acts were written by a gentile Christian for a gentle audience.
He had become a disciple of the apostle Paul and later followed Paul until Paul’s martyrdom. According to the recent movie, Apostle Paul, Luke was sacrificially accompanied with Paul to the last minute with thanks.
He could have lived comfortably as a Greek physician during the times of persecution against Christians. But he chose to live a thankful life before God as a faithful coworker for God’s world mission command. May the Lord raise many servants like him in our times!
Today we learned the importance of making time to thank Jesus as our first priority. Psalm 118:1 says, simply, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 50:23 says, “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Giving thanks to God puts the universe, and our heart, back in order. May God give us faith to take hold of a spiritual blessing and the practice of thankfulness to maintain it.