Leprosy is a terrible disease that causes a person’s body parts to slowly rot away. Lepers often lose their fingers and toes, and eventually the disease kills them. It is very contagious and is spread by touch. For that reason, lepers in Jesus’ day were outcasts of society, and no one wanted to be near them. So they hung around each other, and in today’s story we find a group of ten who called on Jesus to heal them. From examining the details of the story, it’s obvious that they had faith in His healing power.
First, their faith was evident by their calling out to Jesus to be healed.
Second, when Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests, they obeyed. Under the Law of Moses, before a cleansed leper could begin normal interaction with non-leprous people, he had to be examined by a priest and declared cleansed of his leprosy. That is what Jesus was requiring the ten lepers to do, and so they started off on a 25- or 30-mile journey to Jerusalem. They must have believed that they would be better by the time they got to the priests, and as they acted on their faith, they were!
And third, Jesus told the one leper who returned to give thanks that it was his faith that had healed him. For this reason, we can conclude that all ten were healed through their faith in Jesus. Where did these ten lepers get their faith? They must have heard that Jesus was healing all who asked to be healed.
What would have happened if they wouldn’t have asked Jesus for healing? What would have happened if they wouldn’t have obeyed Him, acting on their faith by heading toward Jerusalem to show themselves to the priests? The answer to both questions is this: They would not have been healed, even though we know from reading the story that it was obviously God’s will for them to be healed. This once again proves that God’s will doesn’t always automatically happen regardless of what we do. And it once again proves that unless we believe, God’s will may not come to pass in our lives.
Q. Jesus healed all ten of the lepers. What does this say to us?
A. It leads us to believe, once again, that God wants everyone to be healed. Many Christians today will say that it is God’s will to heal some but not all. But Jesus healed all the lepers. And, if they had believed that it was only God’s will for a few of them to be healed, none of them would have been healed, because none of them could have had faith for individual healing.
Q. The one leper who returned to give Jesus thanks was a Samaritan. His faith was actually more impressive than the faith of the other nine. Why?
A. Because Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another in Jesus’ time. Because of that, he, more than the others, would have been tempted to doubt the wisdom of obeying Jesus’ instructions to show himself to the priests. He knew the priests would probably have nothing to do with him. But he obeyed Jesus anyway and was healed.
Application: If we believe in Jesus as our healer, let us begin to talk and act like it!