Luke 17:11-19 From Unclean To Clean By Obedient Faith.
Jesus continued His journey to Jerusalem, and on the way He passed through Samaria and Galilee (v. 11 Cf. Lk. 9:51-53; Jn. 4:4). These ten lepers were among those on the outside looking in. These lepers “stood afar off,” therefore “they lifted up their voices” (vv. 12-13). The law required this distance (Cf. Lev. 13:46; Nu. 5:2). They address Jesus, not as Teacher, but as “Jesus, Master”. Is this a confession of repentance and faith? Jesus was given this name because He would “save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21), and there can only be one Master (Jn. 15:20). This was a statement of Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Furthermore, they asked for mercy (v. 13).
We are told that the lepers are cleansed as they obey Jesus and proceed to show themselves to the priests (v. 14). A leper was required to show themselves to the priests, but only when they were cleansed (Lev. 13-14). This raises some interesting points. First of all, Jesus was intent on fulfilling the law. Secondly, Jesus was also intent on showing mercy and healing the sick. Thirdly, there is no contradiction between points one and two. Fourthly, the law did not prohibit a foreigner, such as those in Samaria and Galilee, from going to the priests. Fifthly, the decision by the lepers to obey was a step of faith, but also of obedience to the law.
Not only did the law not prohibit a foreigner from going to the priests, but it was a foreigner who returned to fall on his face before Jesus, give Him thanks, and glorify God (vv. 15-18 Cf. Jn. 4:9). It was through the instrumentality of faith that all were made well, but only one gave glory to God (v. 19 Cf. 7:50; 8:48; 18:42; Mt. 9:22; Mk. 5:34; 10:52). Nevertheless, their going to the priests was also a testimony to them of who Jesus was (Cf. 5:14; Mt. 8:4). Jesus had the power to heal. Jesus also taught, and commanded to be put into practice, that obeying the law was an evidence of faith. Before the gift of physical healing, there was the gift of faith.