TEXT: Then, one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks.” (Luke 17:15, Reading Luke 17:11-19)
INTRODUCTION: As we walk through this miracle account, I want us to fix our eyes on Jesus and to see why we ought to be at His feet as well - offering Him praise and thanksgiving. We ought to be at Jesus’ feet not only because 1) Jesus’ Extends Divine Mercy (17:11-14a), but because 2) Jesus Provides Total Cleansing (17:14b-15a).
“And as they went they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14b). Like the cleansing of Naaman of old, these ten men were cleansed at a distance. Jesus did not touch them as part of their healing. Jesus just gave them an instruction that they could have dismissed or ignored. Evidently, they responded obediently to Jesus’ words. The implication is that they were heading to the priests as Jesus had directed them to do, and as they went they were cleansed. The text does not tell us explicitly about their faith or their obedience as such, but the implication is that they responded specifically and immediately to the words of Jesus.
In our text the word “cleansed” can mean “make clean,” or “purify.” It can be used in the physical sense of purification from some type of defilement or disease, which is its primary meaning here. These men needed total physical healing and cleansing from defilement due to their leprosy, and that total cleansing was provided by Jesus. In Hebrews 1:3, a similar word is used for cleansing referring to Jesus finished work and ministry of making “purification for sins.” This short phrase in Hebrews 1:3, “after making purification for sins,” is descriptive of the essence of Jesus’ priestly and sacrificial ministry. A similar word is used in the moral and spiritual sense in 1 John 1:7-9 for a cleansing from sin and unrighteousness. We need to remember that our Savior had and still has both the power to heal and to forgive sins, and indeed the one (power to heal) points to his authority to forgive sins as seen in Luke 5:17-26. And even when the emphasis in the Scriptures is specifically physical healing and cleansing, it is also an illustration of the deeper healing and cleansing of the Savior that we all need.
Do you need cleansing today from sin? Do you need healing today desperately? Maybe it is an inner healing that only Jesus knows about? He is the sovereign Savior who can grant forgiveness, cleansing, and healing for His glory as we will see as we continue to study this miracle account in Luke’s gospel.
The emphasis in the Old and New Testaments is our need of cleansing from the guilt and defilement of sin. At the same time, we don’t need to limit our Savior in ways that are contrary to the Scriptures. Jesus knows our needs here today, and He is still our all-sufficient merciful Savior, and we are directed by the Scriptures to pray for physical healing as needed (James 5:14). We, also, are to confess our sins to one another and to pray for one another (James 5:16). Writing more generally concerning living in the light as a Christian, the Apostle John states the glorious truth that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We have an advocate that has provided total cleansing from the defilement of sin in our lives.
Back in Luke 17, when one of these men saw that he had been cleansed physically, he decided to turn back to Jesus. The cleansing must have been evident enough that the man realized what had happened. The nine others are left behind at this point. They are referred to by Jesus, so we know that they were cleansed, but that is all we know. The focus changes, though, to this one man who returns to Jesus to give thanks and to praise God. And he returned to Jesus because he was grateful for the total cleansing that Jesus provided.
CONCLUSION: Are you grateful today for the total cleansing that Jesus has provided? Do you need a fresh cleansing today?