February 22nd, 2022 – Luke 17:19

Verse of the Day Devotion  Luke 17:19  And He said to him, Rise, and go your way; your faith has made you well.   

Today’s verse is an account of the healing of ten men who were afflicted with an infectious skin disease commonly known as leprosy.  In Israel during this time, when a person developed a rash or skin disorder, they had no option but to go to the priest for them to examine it. God declared the following to Moses and Aaron. “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes an infection of leprosy on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest, or to one of his sons the priests. And the priest shall look at the mark on the skin of the body, and if the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is an infection of leprosy; when the priest has looked at him, he shall pronounce him unclean.” Leviticus 13:2-3. This was done in order to keep the leprosy from spreading throughout Israel. Unfortunately, those who were infected may have a life sentence upon them, for they had to be isolated and many times lived as outcasts until they died.

Now these ten men who were probably part of a leper colony approached Jesus but remained at a distance as per the law. They called out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Luke 17:13. And without seeming to do anything to heal them, Jesus merely gave the instruction to go show themselves to the priest. “And when He saw them, He said to them, Go and show yourselves to the priests. And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14. Note, before the men left, the men were still lepers. Nothing had yet changed. However, in faith, they obeyed, and as they began to walk to the priest, they were healed.

Now, we have no idea how far they had gone from Jesus before they were healed.  However, they were all healed at the same time.  What is sad here is that only one of them came back to Jesus after seeing he was healed, and this was the Samaritan. A Samaritan is an inhabitant of the city or region of Samaria, which lies between Judea and Galilee. The Jews labeled these non-Jews Samaritans, as a term of reproach and contempt.

Jesus expressed disappointment that the other nine had not thought to give praise to God for their healing. “And Jesus answered and said, Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” Luke 17:17-18. From this we learn that God desires for us to express our thankfulness to Him for all He does in our lives. Jesus’ last words to the grateful Samaritan imply that this man was healed both physically and spiritually. After the man was already healed of leprosy, Jesus said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 19:19. It could be that the man’s return to fall at Jesus’ feet gave him spiritual wholeness in addition to the physical wholeness he had received.

Even though Jesus did not withhold healing from the Jews, who had the faith to do what He said, they  did not take the time to thank Him. He made a point of noting their lack of gratefulness. Not improbable is the view that Luke here, using this as an example, wished to place in a clear light the unthankful attitude of the Jews towards the Savior, which showed itself throughout Jesus’ time here. John Peter Lange put it this way. “The ingratitude of the nine, in contrast with the one Samaritan, bears so far as this a symbolical character, that it gives an example of the unfavorable reception which the Savior ever found in Israel, in opposition to the higher esteem which was accorded Him in the heathen world.”

When God blesses us with a miracle of healing, good opportunities, or anything else that is to our benefit, we must take time to acknowledge the Giver and not just the gifts. Especially if these gifts are beyond our ability to secure ourselves. True faith which leads to salvation, whether our soul, body, or even our life here, should be intimately connected with glorying God. No matter which, He is deserving of all thankfulness, glory, and praise.  We must take time daily to give Him thanks for all good things He gives us, for we cannot earn them, but by His grace and love He gives them to us. Always remember this, for He deserves it all.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

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