Key Verse: “He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
DURING BIBLICAL TIMES, leprosy was considered an infectious, incurable disease. Under the Mosaic Law, lepers were required to remain isolated and as a result, generally were dependent upon their family or charitable acts of others in order to be sustained. “The leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.”—Lev. 13:45,46
In today’s lesson, Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem by way of Samaria and Galilee when he encountered ten lepers who cried out for his mercy, after which he directed them to show themselves to the priest. They must have had a measure of faith in the Master’s ability to cure them of this disease, because they obeyed his instructions. Once they reached the priests they were deemed cured and allowed to return to their family and friends.—Luke 17:11-14
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.”—vss. 15-18
In our Key Verse, which directly follows the passage quoted above, Jesus declared that this leper’s faith had made him whole. In actuality it was the divine power which Jesus exercised that effected this miraculous cure.
Let us now consider two lessons from this entire episode. First, leprosy appears to be a symbolic representation of sin in that it leaves us debilitated, estranged and in a hopeless condition. A vivid example of this is the fact that Adam, who was created perfect, disobeyed God’s instruction by eating of the forbidden fruit and was cast out of the Edenic paradise in which he lived. Eventually he died after living nine hundred and thirty years.—Gen. 5:5
Nevertheless, divine foreknowledge made provision for man’s ultimate recovery and an opportunity to attain everlasting life. God’s loving purpose would come through the faithful and perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus, who provided the ransom price to accomplish this.—Mark 10:45; I Tim. 2:3-6
A second lesson we might appropriate from considering this narrative involving the ten lepers is that of expressing gratitude. Of all the lepers whom Jesus cleansed, only the Samaritan returned to Jesus and thanked him for this miraculous healing. So too, his prospective members of the Gospel Age church, as devoted Christians, will ever render praise and thanksgiving to God for his unspeakable gift of salvation through Christ.—Eph. 2:8
We look forward to the fulfillment of that oft repeated prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) What a glorious outcome of God’s magnificent plan of the ages will result, for all will come to know and worship the Creator.