Bible Insights

Clean versus Well

The 10 Lepers

There is a story of Jesus dealing with ten lepers (leprosy is an infectious skin decease that eats away the flesh). Keeping their distance, as was the practice of the day, they call out to Jesus for help.

Jesus tells them to go present themselves to the priest. (It was also the practice that a leper who became better, needed to go to a priest for confirmation before re-entering society.)

The lepers comply. As they go, they are cleansed of their leprosy.

One man, seeing what happened, returns to Jesus and thanks him.

Jesus commends the man for doing so but is surprised that only one person returned to give thanks. Then the man was made well.  (Other translations say he was “healed,” “restored,” or “made whole.”)

There seems to be a distinction between being cleansed and being made well.

One thought is that being cleansed meant that the leprosy was gone, but its ravages remained, whereas being made well, restored the flesh to its pre-leprous condition.

Another thought is that being made well, addressed the whole person, encompassing the psychological and emotional aspect of having been ostracized and devalued as a person.

Whatever the precise meaning, it is clear that the man who gives thanks to Jesus—and didn’t take his generosity for granted—was given even more as a result.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 16-18, and today’s post is on Luke 17:11-19.]

Read more about the book of Luke in That You May Know: A 40-Day Devotional Exploring the Life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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