JESUS HEALS TEN MEN WITH LEPROSY
Key Verses: 17:17-19
"Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other
nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except
this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith
has made you well.'"
1. Who did Jesus meet on the border between Samaria and Galilee? What
was the common bond between this group of Jews and Samaritans? How
did they show both respect and trust toward Jesus?
2. How did Jesus heal them? Why should they show themselves to the
priests? What reveals their faith? In what ways was one man
different from the rest? What blessing did he receive? What lesson
did Jesus teach?
3. Some unthankful people: Read John 5:1-15. What special grace did the
paralyzed man receive from Jesus and how did he display ingratitude?
What does the parable in Mark 12:1-12 reveal about the nature of
4. Some thankful people: Read Acts 16:22-25 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
What can you learn from Paul about being thankful?
5. Three pillars of God's grace to remember: Jehovah Jireh (Gen 22:14);
Ebenezer (1Sa 7:12); Immanuel (Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23). Look up the
meaning and the stories connected with each of these and tell what
each one should mean to you.
In this passage, we learn two things. First, Jesus heals even a
Samaritan leper, who was segregated by the Jews. This small event
manifests that Jesus is the Son of God. Second, we also learn from ten
lepers about unthankful people and thankful people. In this passage, as
the children of God we must learn how to thank God as of first
importance in whatever situation we may be in.
First, a story about ten lepers (11-19).
Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem with his disciples and they had
to pass the border between Samaria and Galilee. There was a borderline
between Judah and northern Israel as a truce line. We call this border
no-man's land. Even if it was a no-man's land and a truce line, many
lived in the border. They were sorrowful lepers. Lepers from Judah and
lepers from Samaria lived together in the border without any strife on
account of their empathy due to their leprosy. They suffered from poor
food supply which was on a subsistence level. But what made them most
sorrowful was that they were human beings, yet they had to live in the
borderline. Who knows if there were several teenage leper girls. How
could you help them? As Jesus went into a village, ten men who had
leprosy met Jesus. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud
voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" How did Jesus help them?
As we know, Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem to become a ransom
sacrifice to save men from their sins. Therefore, Jesus must be bracing
himself for the suffering to come. One young man who looked very
courageous like Samson became nervous when his traffic court date was
approaching. But Jesus was not selfish. At that moment, Jesus cared for
ten lepers. When Jesus saw them he said, "Go, show yourselves to the
priests." As they went, they were cleansed (14). Jesus' way of healing
shows that he was occupied with the thought of trials, suffering,
crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, he healed
them. But only one of them came back to Jesus, praising God in a loud
voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a
Samaritan (16). Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the
other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except
this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made
you well" (19). Nine of them were ungrateful, though their leprosy was
healed. They did not come back to thank Jesus. Here we see two kinds of
Second, unthankful people.
When we read John 5:1-5, we feel that we look at a caricature of the
world. The pool of Bethesda looked so beautiful. On the other hand,
there were a great number of disabled people lying there--the blind,
the lame, the paralyzed, because they believed that the first one who
jumped into the pool when the water was stirred would be healed.
Secular humanism suggests a solution that the blind man carry the lame
man piggy-back and run to the pool to save themselves. But they have to
decide who goes into the pool first for healing. This is the human
dilemma. Men can mutually help each other, but men cannot save others
because of their selfishness.
There, Jesus saw a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus
said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once, the man was
cured and picked up his mat and walked away, without saying, "Thank
you, Jesus" (8,9). The day Jesus healed him was a Sabbath. When the
temple police passed by, he reported that Jesus had healed him on the
Sabbath in order to save his skin. If he were a man, he had to remember
how much Jesus had done for him. But he was an unthankful man.
The parable of the vineyard (Mk 12:1-12) explains the unthankful man
more vividly. This is a parable Jesus spoke to his chosen people. The
owner of the vineyard made a beautiful vineyard and its environment and
gave it to his tenants to take care of it. Here, the tenants refers to
his chosen people. At first, the tenants thanked the owner that they
could have the privilege of taking care of the master's vineyard. The
vines grew and grew and bore abundant fruit. Then their hearts were
occupied with a second thought. They only thought about the vineyard,
not about the owner. They became victims of hallucination. In their
hallucination, they lost themselves.
Actually, the owner of the vineyard gave them the vineyard to take
care of it. But he wanted to maintain the spiritual order and the love
relationship and a thankful mind between the owner and his tenants. So,
many times the owner sent his servants to see if they were doing well
and wanted to get just a few grapes to see if they had a thankful
mind. The tenants, however, only thought about such a beautiful
vineyard and its fruits. When they only saw ever-growing and
sufficiently abundant grapes, greed came into their hearts. Then Satan
began to control their hearts. Each time the servants came from the
owner, the tenants sent all the servants back empty-handed and badly
injured. Those who went with two legs came back with one leg. Those who
went with a beautiful nose came back with a bloody, broken nose.
Nevertheless, the owner sent his servants again and again. Finally, the
owner sent his own son. They also killed the owner's son. The owner
could not believe that the tenants killed his own son. Here we learn
that when man forgets how to thank God, he becomes a devil.
Third, thankful people.
When we study the Bible, to glorify God or thank God is our divine
duty. So Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "...give thanks in all
circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Paul,
the greatest theologian, defines, "to thank God in all circumstances is
the will of God for us." Once, Paul and Silas went to Philippi. Paul
converted a witch-girl, who had made her owner rich. Then the owner
brought gangsters and beat Paul and Silas. So, in order to stop a riot,
the mayor of Philippi kept Paul and Silas in prison. That night, they
did not cry, saying, "Look at my broken nose." Rather, they sang in
deep thanks for the privilege of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus at
Philippi. If we have this kind of thanks and praise to God, we can
recognize ourselves as truly great men in the sight of God. When we
have a thankful heart in any situation, God is most pleased.
When we try to count God's graces one by one, we learn that God's
grace is uncountable. We also learn that our sins are uncountable.
God's grace is too great to fathom. But we can categorize it in three
Jehovah Jireh (Gen 22:14). Jehovah Jireh is Abraham's life
testimony. It is not so long. Abraham started his life of faith at the
age of 75. God promised to make his name great and to make him a great
nation and a blessing to all people. Abraham simply believed in his
promises. Genesis 12:1 says in order to become the greatest man who
ever lived in the world, he had to leave his country, people and
father's household. This prerequisite implies that he must get out of
ordinary life and live a life of faith based on the promise of God. All
of a sudden, he said to his wife, "Quick, quick, pack up, Sarah! We are
going to leave our hometown and relatives and go to the promised land."
At that time, Sarah was barren. Out of her hysteria of barrenness, she
could have said, "What are you talking about?" But she did not say so.
She just followed Abraham.
The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and
your father's household and go to the land I will show you" (Gen 12:1).
Abraham believed that the promised land looked like a paradise. But
when he went there and saw, the people of the land looked strong and
wealthy. Abraham was startled for a little while, thinking about how he
could survive there. But he believed that this was the promised land
that God gave him. Emotionally he was disturbed. But he built an altar
as the expression of thanks (Gen 12:8).
God wanted to see if Abraham loved God more than Isaac, God's
blessing to him. So God commanded him to give Isaac as a burnt offering
at Mount Moriah. Isaac really wondered. Everything was there, but there
was no sacrifice. So Isaac asked, "Father, where is the sacrifice?"
Abraham said, "God will provide (Jehovah Jireh)." When Abraham
determined to make Isaac a burnt offering, there was a voice from
heaven, "Abraham, Abraham. Do not lay a hand on the boy. Now I know
that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your
only son" (Gen 22:10-12). On the mountain of the Lord, God prepared a
ram in the place of Isaac. Abraham showed us the example that for those
who believe in God's promise, God provides everything, and that God
blesses those who believe in his promises. There are so many people who
are slaves of future security. Even if they have mountain-like money,
their future security problem erodes their souls. So Jesus said, "But
seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will
be given to you as well" (Mt 6:33).
Ebenezer (1Sa 7:12). Ebenezer means, "Thus far has the Lord
helped us." The word, "Ebenezer," is Samuel's life testimony. Samuel
belongs to the time of Judges. God appointed him as a king-raiser
among his people. Samuel thought that God and the law of God are the
standard of his people and they didn't need a king like the pagan
world. But his rebellious people wanted a political king. What is more,
his two sons were obnoxious and spoiled. Samuel was old. To Samuel, his
life of shepherding seemed to have been a complete failure, and he
cried. But when he prayed, he realized that God had used him thus far
preciously. During his time of shepherding, his people had undergone
one hardship after another. He and his people could have been destroyed
by the enemies. But God always helped them. When Samuel remembered the
God of Ebenezer, he understood that God would help his people as
before. Samuel thought that he had suffered enough to shepherd God's
flock. He was bitter. But when he remembered how much God had helped
his people thus far, Samuel was overwhelmed by a thankful heart to God,
and he cried. Sometimes we think that we live our lives with our own
effort. But without God's help we perish, as the crops perish without
morning dew and rain in season. We must thank God that he has helped
us. We must believe in the God of Ebenezer.
Immanuel (Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23). Immanuel means God is with us.
Matthew 1:23 summarizes the concept that God is with us. It says, "'The
virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will
call him Immanuel'--which means, 'God with us.'" God is with us to save
us from our sins. He is with us to care for each of us. How nice it is
if we can row our lifeboats in a glassy sea. But frequently, God gives
the storm of life to us. The Bible teaches us that we must thank God
whatever the situation God places us in. As we know well, Joseph was
the eleventh son of Jacob, the father of faith. Because of his
brothers' jealousy he was sold to an Ishmaelite caravan for 20 silver
coins. In Egypt, he was sold as a slave to the king's captain of the
guard, Potiphar. Potiphar's wife had been very proud of her husband
thus far. But as soon as she saw Joseph, her husband's greatness looked
small. When she saw Joseph's integrity, she felt that her heart was
empty. She nagged Joseph with the authority of a master's wife to enjoy
some together. But God was with Joseph. Joseph kept his heart right
with God. Then the woman put Joseph in prison with false accusation. In
his teenage time, his most sorrowful event was missing his old father.
Besides, he was imprisoned. Of course, Joseph cried and cried in the
prison of a foreign land. But he believed that God was with him. Then
God gave him strength to work for the prisoners. Romans 8:31 says,
"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who
can be against us?"
When we look back on God's graces upon us, they are countless. But
we do not remember; rather, we are bitter because of hard life and one
or two things that made us bitter. These kinds of people are petty men.
Like Samuel, we must thank God that he has led us thus far. We cannot
do much for his flock. But we must thank God for the privilege of
praying for them, in the hope of raising them a kindgom of priests and
a holy nation.
Let's thank God that he is always with us and cares for us. Let's
pray that we may thank God in all circumstances. May the God of Jehovah
Jireh, Ebenezer, and Immanuel be with you.