When Jesus cleansed the ten lepers, there was no hesitation. Luke sets the story up by telling us that Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. This was a “no zone” for Jews who were not from Samaria. They typically would not enter into Samaria, and wouldn’t even associate with Samaritans. But Jesus was probably en route to Jerusalem and did not have any plans to enter Samaria.
As he entered a village, ten lepers met him but stood at a distance. This was most likely because they didn’t want to get near the Rabbi and make him unclean. Luke says they lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13 ESV). Jesus answered, “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (vs. 14). Unlike other instances where Jesus touches unclean people, here he chooses not to call them closer. There’s no indication he had any intention of touching them and he did not tell them they would be healed.
They did as Jesus commanded and began walking away. As they did, they were healed. One of the ten, when he saw that he was healed, “turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks” (vs. 13, 14). The man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked him where the nine were. Jesus asked, “Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (vs. 18). Jesus then told him to go his way and that his faith made him well.
There are so many lessons that come from this story. But the main point is that it is ultimately God who heals, but our faith is important. It’s also vital to give praise to God when God blesses us. Too many people are like the nine who failed to return to Jesus to give praise.