Luke 17 11 19 Commentary

Luke 17 11 19 Commentary

Recently my family has found ourselves in some pretty interesting situations. In particular, this past February seemed pretty full of various trials and difficulties.

At the beginning of the month, our youngest son broke his sub-orbital bone in a sledding accident which required emergency surgery. Then I and both my boys suffered through the flu for about 5-7 days each.

And in both cases – with my son’s eye issue and my own physical health – it was a great relief to have functionality restored in my life. I was so grateful in the hospital as it became apparent that the surgery for my son’s eye was effective. And as my son’s double-vision has subsided my heart has been full of thankfulness. And then as my fever left, what a blessing it was to actually be able to get out of my bed and go back to work!

And so, it seems like in my life at least the level of deprivation that I was lifted out of served to fuel my thanksgiving.

And you know – God often intends things to work that way. He deprives you – takes things away or withholds things from you… in order to fuel your thanksgiving and gratitude toward him when he releases you from that deprivation – when he finally provides what you were lacking.

And so, for our time this morning I’d like to lead us briefly through a story in the life of Jesus Christ that demonstrates this principle of deprivation leading to thanksgiving – and the importance that God places on that second element – the importance of our giving God thanks and being thankful people.

So, let’s turn to Luke 17. And we’ll be considering verses 11 through 19. I’ll just read through the passage adding some comments and some thoughts at the end concerning how God intends to use deprivation to produce thanksgiving in our lives.

Setting the Scene

First of all, Luke sets the scene for us in verses 11 and 12.

KJV Luke 17:11 ¶ {And it came to pass, as he went/While he was on the way/Now on the way} to Jerusalem, {that he passed through the midst of/He was passing between/Jesus was passing along between/Jesus traveled along the border between} Samaria and Galilee.

So, Jesus is going from north-eastern Israel in Galilee and he’s heading down south to Jerusalem. And the route he’s taking is leading him right along the border between Galilee and Samaria.

Now, of course that mention of Samaria will become more important later on in the story.

On to verse 12…

12 {And as he entered into a certain/As he was going into a} village, there met him ten {men that were lepers/leprous men/men with leprosy}, {which stood afar off/who stood at a distance}:

So, Jesus comes to a particular village as he’s on his way to Jerusalem. And he meets 10 lepers.

Now, leprosy has been an incurable disease for much of the history of the world. From Old Testament times (and likely before that) until actually the 1940s there was no known cure for leprosy (

And what’s worse is that this spread from person to person. As a result, the leprous person experienced a great deal of deprivation. He had to live among other lepers, leaving his family and friends and all that he ever knew. It was a miserable existence.

An Urgent Request

Well, these lepers see Jesus from a distance and they have an urgent request for him.

13 And they {lifted up their/raised their/called out with loud} voices, and said,

Jesus, Master, have {mercy/pity} on us.

Mercy or pity is what the rich man in hell requested of Abraham. It’s what the blind beggar in Jericho requested from Jesus. It’s the request of one who has no resources and is in a pitiable condition… as that one is looking to someone else whom they believe can relieve some of their pain and suffering and deficiencies.

Jesus Answers

Well, Jesus doesn’t even hesitate in answering their request.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them,

Go {shew/and show} yourselves {unto/to} the priests.

Now, this is what the Old Testament required that a leper who was cleansed of his leprosy do to verify his cleansing from this otherwise incurable disease. Apparently sometimes it would just go away on its own – and when it did, the former leper needed to go show himself to a priest to have this fact verified.

Obedience Leads to Cleansing

So, for these lepers in this story, the implication is that Jesus cleansed them already of their leprosy – only he hadn’t, just yet. Because the verse goes on to describe that very thing happening.

And {it came to pass, that, as they went,/as they were going/as they went} they were cleansed.

So, they obeyed Jesus’ command. And as they did, he healed their leprosy.

They beg for cleansing. He says to go. So, they go – and as they do what he tells them to do, they get what they were asking for.

Now, the story could end there and we’d all be amazed at Jesus’ power to heal people of leprosy in a time when no cure for this disease existed. But that’s not the main point of this story. Jesus wants us to consider and know the importance of giving him thanks as he provides for us after a time of deprivation.

One in Ten

So, we hear the continuing story of one of those ten lepers in verse 15.

15 {And one/Now one/Then one/One} of them, when he saw that he {was/had been} healed, {turned/came} back, {and with a loud voice glorified God,/glorifying God with a loud voice/praising God with a loud voice}

So, just like all ten lepers cried out with a loud voice for healing back in verse 13, so now this one former leper cries out with a loud voice once more. And this time it’s not with a request. This time, he cries out with praise to God.

A Surprising Detail

So, he returns to the one who had healed him and we learn a kind of surprising detail about this man in verse 16.

16 {And fell down on his face/He fell with his face to the ground/He threw himself} at {his/Jesus’} feet, {giving him thanks/and thanked him}:

{and/Now} he was a Samaritan.

This man is so thankful and full of gratitude. And who wouldn’t be!

Well…how about the other 9 former lepers? All were cleansed. But only this one comes back to praise God.

So, you’d think that maybe this one is a very pious man – a man who is very close to God.

Nope. He’s a Samaritan. A loathed, despised, half-breed Samaritan. The kind of guy that most Jews of Jesus’ day would look at askance. Not only because he was an unclean leper – but because he was also an unclean Samaritan!

Jesus Marvels

And yet, he’s the one out of ten that is returning to praise the Lord. What a marvel! And that’s actually just how Jesus feels in verse 17.

17 {And Jesus answering said,/Then Jesus answered and said/Then Jesus said/Jesus asked}

Were {there not/not} {ten/all ten} cleansed?

The answer? Yes – all ten were cleansed.

{but where are the nine/But the nine– where are they/Where are the other nine}?

Answer – who knows! I guess the other nine were off enjoying their cleansed state without another thought of the one who cleansed them. They were enjoying the benefits of what Jesus is able to do for a person without enjoying Jesus himself.

More Marveling

So, Jesus continues to marvel at the nature of this one out of ten who returned to praise God.

18 {There are not/Was there no one} {found that returned to give/who returned/to turn back and/to return and} {glory/praise} to God, {save/except} this {stranger/foreigner}.

So, Jesus marvels that the only one who came back to show his gratitude was this one Samaritan. And this seems to indicate that perhaps all of the other nine former lepers were actually Jews.

What Gratitude to God Indicates

Well, to Jesus, what does this kind of gratitude after deprivation indicate? This is how the story ends in verse 19.

19 {And/Then} {he/Jesus} said {unto/to} {him/the man},

{Arise, go thy way:/Stand up and go/Get up and go your way/Rise and go}

{thy/your} faith {hath/has} made {thee/you} {whole/well}.

Now wait a second. We didn’t know anything about faith here. The passage has told us nothing explicitly about this Samaritan’s faith. All we knew was that this guy was cleansed and that he returned to thank Jesus.

But it’s that very heart of gratitude that Jesus points to as evidence that this man possessed true faith in him.


And each of us can learn from the example of this Samaritan. Has God allowed you to experience a time of deprivation? Maybe it’s not as severe as the leper. But maybe you feel like in some ways it’s more severe. Whatever the case, perhaps God has taken something away from you that you feel is vital to a happy life. Or maybe he’s just never given it to you in the first place.

And perhaps God has subsequently turned to you and been gracious and provided for your need. What is your response to be? A gratitude and thankfulness to Jesus Christ that displays your true faith in him.

And for many of us, perhaps we really in many ways lack nothing. Maybe you’re not experiencing deprivation of any sort as far as you can tell. Well, do you suppose that Jesus wants something different or less from you than your praising him with your lips from your heart?

What Jesus wants from the person who has no need is the same as he wants from the person who is full of needs. He wants gratitude that displays your true faith in him.

So may the Lord give each of us such a heart to thank him – especially after he meets our needs after allowing us to experience times of deprivation.

1 Comment

  1. Kathleen Stey says:

    I am new to this online resource. So far I like what I see.
    I would like to hear your testimony and what you believe


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