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  • Healing lepers was an important part of Jesus’ ministry:
    • “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matt 11:4-5).
    • His healing of lepers confirmed that Jesus was Messiah.
  • Our text is in Luke 17, though we will need to examine Leviticus 13-14 in order to understand Jesus' response to the lepers.
    • Lev 13:9, 45 require those with serious skin ailments to allow the priests to inspect them.
    • If they were still contagious, they were required to live outside of town, and call out "Unclean, unclean" if any (healthy) person was coming their way.
    • If they were clean, a special ceremony was performed, involving baptizing a bird in water -- water that contained, among other things, the blood of a second bird. Afterwards the bird was released. Here is a picture (though not exact) of baptism.
  • How do the four lepers of Samaria (2 Kings 7) relate to the Samaritan leper (Luke 17)?
    • At the time of 2 Kings 7, Samaritans were simply Israelites from the northern tribes, or else residents of the capital city of Samaria.
    • This is well before 2 Kings 17, which details the origin of the Samaritans proper -- who were of mixed race and heterodox faith.

Main scripture: Luke 17:11-19

  • The healing of the lepers takes place in the borderland between Galilee and Samaria.
  • Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die (from Luke 9:51 onward). He tells the lepers to walk to Jerusalem -- where they will be able to be reinspected by the priests.
  • The priests should have been impacted by their sharing!
  • Of the 10, only 1 returns to Jesus to say thanks.
    • Notice how expressive he is!
    • Far too many Christians do not conduct themselves in a spirit of gratitude.
  • Outsiders often get it before the insiders…


  • Everyone listening who has been cleansed from sin is like the lepers. Sin is like leprosy.
  • We need to feel, and express, gratitude towards the one who has cleansed us!
  • Then we will not struggle too much to share the good news with others!

Listen to my Thanksgiving sermon (33 minutes). Click: Luke 17 Sermon.

[ Next time: The Leper of Mark 1 ]