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What’s the Point?

As the Gospel writer tells it, Jesus heads for Jerusalem by way of Samaria. When he enters an unnamed village, he is greeted by ten unnamed men who are afflicted with a loathsome physical disease and social curse (Luke 17:11-12).

Standing far from the crowd that fears their disfiguring contagion, the ten call out to Jesus for mercy.

The Teacher hears their plea and tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. (As required by Moses for a leper who wanted to be declared healed (Lev 14:1-32).

As they begin to make their way to the priest, all ten discover that they have been miraculously healed. They have received the mercy they asked of Jesus.

One of the ten turns back to thank Jesus and give praise to God.  At this point he is identified as a Samaritan (despised by the Jewish people as an unworthy and unclean people of mixed Jewish and gentile ancestry).

As the man literally falls on his face at Jesus feet in thanksgiving, Jesus asks where the other nine are? The teacher doesn’t make an issue of the fact that the healed man apparently has not gone to the priest as Jesus said he should (or, are we to understand, that by returning to Jesus, the man is now actually doing just that?).

Jesus then makes a point of saying that “only this foreigner” has returned to give glory to God. He tells the man to stand up and that his faith has made him whole.

Then, as the Gospel writer tells it, the next thing Jesus hears is Jewish religious leaders who want to know when Jesus says the kingdom of God is coming….

What is the main point of this healing?

I came to this passage wondering if it would be an appropriate text to reflect on in this holiday week of Thanksgiving, and ended up with a far too long list of options.

i.e Is the main point of this healing that:

  1. Jesus is the Priest of priests?
  2. Pride causes a blindness that is worse than leprosy?
  3. Faith opens our eyes to the goodness of God?
  4. Gratefulness is itself the blessing of blessings?
  5. Those who have been given most are least likely to be thankful?
  6. Those who have been given least are most likely to be thankful?
  7. Those for whom we have the most contempt can put us to shame?
  8. It might be easier to find Jesus in Samaria than Jerusalem?
  9. The Messiah has come through the Jews for the good of all?
  10. If Jesus can make a leper clean, he can forgive the worst of our sins?
  11. While other religious leaders would continue to be an obstacle to faith (Luke 17:1-2;20), Jesus had come to offer mercy to those who would call out to him?
  12. A grateful heart, in the presence of Jesus is a sign of being truly blessed?

Or something else?

My guess is that the main point is that Jesus has come to do what a chosen nation has not been able to do: (bring blessing to all nations)… and that there are any number of important insights that follow…

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37 Responses to “What’s the Point?”

  1. poohpity says:

    I think it is wonderful that Jesus opens a door for all to come to Him. The ten at first were just described as lepers and asked for healing no mention to their nationality and were already despised because of their disease. Then the one that was despised because of leprosy was also despised because of his genealogy is the one who gave thanks. Obviously this leper in all his rejection from those around him found his place in the kingdom of God. That is something to be very thankful for and truly blessed because he saw his own need and had faith that it would be meant in Christ Jesus whom all power and honor and Glory stands.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    It is interesting that the title is, “What’s the Point?”.

    How many times has that little statement been used in the course of frustration….What’s the point? What is the point in going on, or in trying any more. Why bother. no one cares….I am tired of the fray.

    As to the subject matter concerning the course of events taking place with the lepers and Jesus as found in scripture; What is the point?, takes on a different meaning altogether.

    Here the point becomes what is the lesson the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us?

    It is here that the deep, almost endless touch points given to us from a personal relationship with Christ comes into play.

    Mart pointed out several possibilities as to what lesson may be in play here, but the matter can be so personal that the story, or even just a phrase or sentence from within the story, can have a deep impact on what ever it is the Holy Spirit is telling us…as we listen to Him, personaly.

    The first point that comes to my mind is that when Jesus enters any situation, things can change.

    The fact that only one came back and thanked Him dosen’t mean the others were not also grateful. It is only reported as it is, so as to teach us something we need to learn.

    When I am trying to comment this late in the day, I am distracted far too much to be able to continue a train of thought. Sorry.

    Mart’s closing comment is connected to Ezekiel 34, especialy :11. I am not sure whether this is the main point in the story of Jesus and the lepers, but it is what Mart gleaned from it, mine may be different, others may be different…None of are wrong, just learning different points at different timelines.

    Raining here, but *thankfully* the snow is staying in the west for now.


  3. scout1 says:

    What a delightful post for the Thanksgiving week! I think that all of the 10 were grateful. However, the one fella that came back -maybe showed an awareness and depth of character that Jesus liked. I think that is the kind of awareness and depth of character that the Holy Spirit can give. May I have a great portion of that and remember to be grateful in all things.

    Happy Thanksgiving to RBC bloggers everywhere. ;)

  4. pegramsdell says:

    don’t know what the main point was. probably never will. just soooo glad that he healed me. all 12 are good though. you have put a lot of thought into this subject mart. thanks for all you do.
    maybe Jesus healed those men for us to come together and discuss it and be unified.

  5. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the USA, I was there once for a thanksgiving week on a training course in California and was supprised how quiet it all goes on the day itself, a bit like Christmas day here.
    As for the topic! Mart has given us more than just Turkey to chew on this week but a subject that could feed us for a long time.
    I see many things, as does Mart, but it seems to me as a Gentile that the Samaritan may not have felt comfortable going into the Jewish temple to the high priest and recognised Jesus as the one who healed him and also as the one I AM God who is worthy of praise.
    As with the Roman Centurian and the woman at the well, Jesus was open and available to all and those from outside the fold seemed to have greater faith.
    I am sure as I contemplate this topic and read the comments I will be thinking more on this.


    Regina, God laid you on my heart several times to pray today, God Bless.

  6. phpatato says:

    “”The Teacher hears their plea and tells them to go and show themselves to the priests…
    As they begin to make their way to the priest, all ten discover that they have been miraculously healed…
    One of the ten turns back to thank Jesus and give praise to God…
    Jesus asks where the other nine are? The teacher doesn’t make an issue of the fact that the healed man apparently has not gone to the priest as Jesus said he should (or, are we to understand, that by returning to Jesus, the man is now actually doing just that?).”””

    Jesus loved each one of the 10. He asked that they go see the priest and they OBEDIENTLY did what He asked. Not one remained behind, scoffing in disbelief. They were rewarded for their actions by being healed. However, only one turned back to thank and praise the great High Priest for what He had done.

    When God asks me to do something, I must be obedient and do what He asks. No whining, no hedging, no buts, no fear (fear being the biggest one for me for I am an ostrich by nature – I want to hide from danger (or change) by burying my head in the sand). When my pleas are answered, just as a small child, I must always remember to go to my Heavenly Father with my thanksgiving and praise, being grateful for the good things He has done.

    In case I am not able to get back here in the next couple of days…

    Happy Thanksgiving from Ontario Canada. Be safe and enjoy your holiday.


  7. Jason says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all in the U.S.A.

    To me this topic points to faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed can work wonders. When the lepers believed they were going to be cured, that’s all it took. I find when I have faith in my thoughts and heart things go a lot more smoothly. I believe faith is the opposite of fear. Fear keeps me down, faith lifts me up.

    I also agree that we must have gratitude for all that Jesus has done for us.

    Lots of snow and -22 celsius here in Saskatchewan.

    God Bless

  8. marma says:

    Verse 17 Jesus says “the kingdom of God is in your midst” which is what the Samaritan Leper recognized, but the Pharisees did not, or they would have been praising God and recognizing Jesus for who He is.

    That’s what impressed me, anyway.

    Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all!

  9. marma says:

    That’s what I got from the chapter. As far as the healing goes…lots of reasons for that!

  10. IsOn says:

    I’m wondering… could it be that the other nine lepers were Jewish? Is it permissible for even a clean Samaritan to show himself to the (Jewish) priests? If not, then, could it be one of the reason why the Samaritan leper turn back to Jesus instead of showing himself to the priests? Hope to get some feedback from you guys here. Anyway, wishing you all Happy Thanksgiving Week. :)

  11. SFDBWV says:

    I read another example of Jesus healing a leper in Mark 1:40-45. This time I borrow from the observations of Ken Kire…

    “As if the physical stigma of the disease isn’t enough, the rabbis attach a moral stigma to it as well. They believe it to be a direct blow by God on the backs of the sinful. And with that belief comes a rigid catechism of cause and effect platitudes…[ No death without sin, no pain without transgression.] For them leprosy is a visual symbol of moral decay. I begins with a small speck and destroys the indivdual.”

    The leper had to live a solitary life, seperated from all of society. Usualy forced to live in a cave, food had to be delivered to them, with no real contact from the outside world.

    There they lived, without love, without joy, without hope.

    I very much enjoyed the comments from other blogers on this subject.

    It very well could have been that the rabbis would not have allowed the lepers to come before them anyway.

    Just an observation from me is also this, there were 10 lepers in the story in Luke, only one returned to thank Jesus….one tenth, just like tithes.

    Also another difference between the two healings of the lepers in Luke 17 and Mark 1 is that in the healing in Mark…Jesus reached out and touched the leper…touched him.

    I am overwhelmed, can you imagine what the crowd thought as well as this man, whom no man was aloud to touch thought, as jesus reached out for him.


  12. dinakar says:

    Ten lepers placed their faith in the Masters words and got healed.
    The point is
    Only one person recognized Him as God and was subsequently made “whole”.
    Nine healed persons stuck to their theology and lost salvation.

    For all in America – Have a love filled Thanks giving week

  13. SFDBWV says:

    My friend Bob in Cornwall sent me this morning the news story about the second explosion in the coal mine in New Zealand.

    I have been following this story on the web as the news media here paid little attention to the story.

    It is going to be a difficult time for the families of these 29 men. I pray that they reach out for the only comfort that could possibly matter…Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Pat I pray also things are improving for your family, and Regina, Bruce gave you good advice, I pray also for you and your peace.

    Bruce I hope your wife is doing well, any news?

    We all have a lot to be thankful for, but for some of us sometimes we have to be reminded of that.


  14. bubbles says:

    What has always been striking in this story is that 9 of them did not say “thank you” to Jesus for what He did for/to them. The healing totally changed their physical lives. They could return to society and their families.

    I don’t want to be like the 9 who took the blessing and never recognized the one who blessed them. Our Heavenly Father pours blessings out on us every day. We have clean water to drink. Clean air to breathe. Sound minds. The Word of God. The sunrise each morning. It is so easy just ‘take’ these blessings and forget the “thank you” to God. Oh, how it must grieve His heart to hear us complain or to not stop and thank Him when we receive a blessing. May the Lord keep me sensitive to the many blessings He gives each day.

  15. poohpity says:

    I agree bubbles. If nothing else happens in our life just like the lepers were given new life we are also given new life and that in its self is enough to fall flat on our face in the dust with gratitude. Not life from our parents but new life that will never pass away.

    As the lepers were cleansed we are also cleansed from selfishness and hatred. 1 Peter 1:22-23 to live a new life to love warmly with all our hearts. If we act like the 9 lepers then even though we are given another chance at life they may have continued without the newness of a second chance.

    I think with the one who came back with a grateful heart was now open to learning more from Jesus. I do not think Jesus can do much with a heart that feels entitled to the gifts from God.

  16. bubbles says:

    Also forgot to add the spiritual blessings that far outweigh the physical blessings we are given every day.

  17. poohpity says:

    annanvalley, where in Africa are you? I was blessed to go to South Africa in 2007 but would enjoy so much to see it all.

  18. marma says:

    Thank you annanvalley. Good to have a time set aside to be thankful. I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ through out the world who on this blog and others encourage me, challenge me, and point me to Christ.

    Poohpity, “I think with the one who came back with a grateful heart was now open to learning more from Jesus. I do not think Jesus can do much with a heart that feels entitled to the gifts from God.” –How true!

    May God bless all of you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. davids says:

    As others have mentioned, what I take out of the story is the lesson of gratitude. Some of Mart’s other points I might agree with theologically, but they are not central to this story, for me.

    The first fact is that there were ten lepers. I don’t know if the exact number is significant, but it is clear that the story would have a different meaning if there were three, or five.

    They call out for Chesed – the undeserved grace of God. The ten then set out to do what Jesus tells them to do, but not without worry. After all, their lives will not be changed until the priest gives them an “all clear”. What if he doesn’t?

    Only one recognizes that God has already healed him – extended His grace, and turns right around to thank Jesus. I leave aside whether he hesitated to go to a Jewish priest, or whether Jesus was indicating that a Samaritan priest could also declare him clean.

    How many people pray to God every day that thier burden might be lifted? I am sure it is greater then the number of Chritians. How many return in thankfulness?

    I don’t know about you but I have prayed for many specific things, for my marriage, my children, my work, my health. Many times I am “still on my way to the priest”. I am waiting to see whether it has actually worked out. By the time the situation has resolved, I forget that I prayed for something specifc and fail to thank the Lord for a mercy granted.

    (Regina, you have been in my prayers)

  20. foreverblessed says:

    What stands out to me at the moment is the thankfulness.
    It is as if God wants to teach me to be thankful in ALL situations,
    (Not to look at the situation, but to God who is greater then the situation. I would go to God, but more to change the situations then clinging to Him, no matter what. )
    That is a disciplining of a loving Father to his child.
    For one reason is, that when I am not thankfull I would spoil His gifts that He has in store for me.
    Regina, thanks for sharing! We stand beside you in our prayers. I also pray for your husband. If there is a way, that God could touch his heart…

  21. poohpity says:

    I agree foreverblessed that God would have us be thankful in all situations and gives us the hope in things we pray for. We have been called out of darkness into His wonderful light. All praise to our Lord! Hope all enjoy your Thanksgiving Day and hope that everyday turns into a Thanksgiving day. Love you all Deb

  22. plumbape says:

    “That’s My King”

    The late Dr. S. M. Lockeridge, a pastor from San Diego, California
    said these words in a sermon in Detroit in 1976:

    My King was born King. The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King. He’s the King of the Jews – that’s an Ethnic King. He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that’s my King.

    Well, I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? Don’t try to mislead me. Do you know my King? David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is the only one of whom there are no means of measure that can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing.

    He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. That’s my King. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s saviour. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s honest. He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s pre-eminent. He’s the grandest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of historic theology. He’s the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That’s my King.

    He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He’s the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He’s the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That’s my King.

    Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. He’s the master of the mighty. He’s the captain of the conquerors. He’s the head of the heroes. He’s the leader of the legislatures. He’s the overseer of the overcomers. He’s the governor of governors. He’s the prince of princes. He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King.

    His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He’s indescribable. That’s my King. He’s incomprehensible, He’s invincible, and He is irresistible.

    I’m coming to tell you this, that the heavens of heavens can’t contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King.

    He always has been and He always will be. I’m talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and He’ll have no successor. There’s nobody before Him and there’ll be nobody after Him. You can’t impeach Him and He’s not going to resign. That’s my King! That’s my King!

    Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We’re around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but in the end all that matters is God’s power. Thine is the power. Yeah. And the glory. We try to get prestige and honor and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? Forever and ever and ever and ever. . . And when you get through with all of the ever’s, then . . .Amen!


  23. Jason says:

    Amen Plumbape!

    Thanks for posting that powerful message.

  24. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Thank for that word Plumbape, most inspiring on a cold damp wintry morning in west Cornwall, +2C and wet wintery showers again today.

    I maybe wrong in my historical facts here, we were not taught much about US History when I was in school in the 60’s (all beatles and anti american war demo’s is all I can remember)
    Anyway the point I want to make is what most have said about thanking God, even before we have a full outcome to our prayers.
    The Pigrim Fathers thanked God for their safe arrival in the America’s, the weather must have already been cold and below freezing as it was November. Then followed the coldest winter (normal for your continent) that anyone from Britain would have seen since the Ice Age. They must have huddled up and made all those beautiful quilts just to keep warm. I have no idea what they ate, didn’t the native Americans help them?
    Anyway, the point being, “All things work together for good to them that love God” That spirit of thankfulnes they had when they arrived would have continued throughout that allful (to them) winter. That is how we should live, everyday with thanks to God for all He has done, is doing and will do for us.

    Happy Holidays


  25. saled says:

    Thank you plumbape for that powerful look at who Jesus is. When we turn back to look at him after being healed of our leprosy, this is what we see. We don’t see him only as the one who healed us; he is so much more and he wants to give himself to us.

    People who value others for only what they can do for them are called users. I think maybe the nine who didn’t return to say thanks were in this category, along with the thousands who discovered that Jesus could feed them. Maybe the point is that when this one leper turned back, he was given so much more than healing.

    I was thinking about this question last night, how can we love God for who he is, not just what he can do for us. And words like all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present came to mind. And then comes this excellent sermon that plumbabe shared with us. I love it.

  26. BruceC says:


    Everything is okay with the wife. We are doing alright. Thurs. was busy. God bless at this time of year!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  27. refump says:

    Thanks for sharing “That’s My King” sermon Plumbape. I would encourage you all to goggle this to watch the video of it. It will send chills up & down your spine.

    Saled, you made the statement, “I was thinking about this question last night, how can we love God for who he is, not just what he can do for us.” I heard a statement like this many years ago that has haunted me ever since, ” Oh, that there was no heaven or hell & we could love God for who He is”.

  28. bubbles says:

    This may be too far off topic to leave here.

    Bob, according to the History book that I used at one time, God used a Native American Indian named Squanto to help his people survive in the New World.
    According to this textbook, Squanto was an interpreter for trading ships from Britian. He was invited to return to London with them. He stayed in London for several years. While there, he learned the English customs and language.

    He returned to America on another ship. When he returned here, he learned his tribe had died due to an illness. He was the only one left. Shortly thereafter, he was kidnapped and taken aboard a slave ship bound for Spain. He escaped and returned to England and stayed with a London merchant.

    He met John Smith (of the Jamestown group) and returned on his ship. He was welcomed by another Indian group in Massachusetts. This was the same group of Indian that befriended the Pilgrims when they arrived here.

    Squanto was fully equipped to help the Pilgrims. He had a foot in both worlds. The Pilgrims called him “The Instrument of God”. It looks as thought God had been preparing someone before the Pilgrims arrived to be there to help them acclimate to this harsh environment.

    It was said the first Thanksgiving lasted 3 days. Ninety Indians were invited.

    This wonderful man’s life is a beautiful example of Romans 8:28–how God works all things together for good.
    He did not allow the bitterness of his circumstances to hinder giving aid to those who needed it.

  29. phpatato says:

    Thank you so much Plumbape for posting that wonderfully powerful message. If it is alright, I would like to copy it and paste it into the word program, in order to both save it on my computer and print it for a hard copy so that I can place it between the pages of my Bible. I would then like to place it in an email in order to bless those in my address book with it. How can anyone not sit in fear and reverence (awe) of Him while reading it.

    Had some freezing rain last night….enough to make the roads greasy. I cancelled plans of skipping across the border to test my level of patience in black Friday fun. Enjoy your shopping weekend.


  30. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles I enjoyed your history lesson very much. I too love the way God prepares a way even before we know where it is we are going…

    Pat, rain here last night and snow here this morning. Brrr, wet and cold is never a welcome condition.

    Michael, good job brother, keep up the faith.

    Glad all is ok Bruce.

    We had a very nice Thanksgiving day and evening here. Had friends over for dinner, and of course shared our faith together.

    Blessings to all,


  31. foreverblessed says:

    That was so profound, we can be so thankful for Jesus, yes, for who He is. Just for who He is, if we would dwell on that more, we would be more filled by His Spirit.
    Why do we have our thoughts so much on what is going wrong in our lives, in our country, in the world?
    Isn’t it far better to dwell on who Jesus is? That would fill our minds and hearts with good things, so we could be a better person here.

    Thanks so much, Michael,

  32. foreverblessed says:

    I got an invitation for some vague meditation nights in the midwinter period, I was so thrilled by that description of who my King is, I sent the sermon of Lockeridge to this person, and said that if I want to meditate I would like to know on which spirituality I focus, and this is Him, my King Jesus

  33. rokdude5 says:

    To me the point of the healing is two fold. First, to show that Jesus is the Son of Man; that He is God. Powerful enough to heal all and any maladies. He is powerful enough to cast out demons from the possessed. Even the demons know who He was (and is). They even complained to Him to leave them alone. Mark 5:1-20

    Secondly, to show us that the Love (and wrath) of God falls on all – whether believers or not – the gratefuls or not – just like the rain and the sun.

    We didnt choose and love Him first but He chosed and loved us first…waaaaaay before the foundation of the world was even set.

    In spite of our waywardness, thank You Lord for choosing and loving us!!

  34. hlbrucato says:

    I have asked this question many times in my life: “What is the point?” However, today, I feel at peace because of the grace of God. He heard my cry and answered my prayers and I am thankful to Him-for His mercies are sufficient-daily!

  35. poohpity says:

    Amen, hlbrucato.

  36. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Hope all is well with you all.
    I know this is an old blog topic, but I just want to say thank you (again) to Bob, Steve and Davids for their prayers and sincere concern for me. I didn’t have an opportunity to respond on this blog topic.


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