Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

One Leper Returned and Said "Thank You"

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Our Lord Jesus Christ was traveling to Jerusalem. He did not travel by plane nor boat nor even car for such a long journey. Rather our beloved Lord Jesus walked. As our Lord approached the outskirts of a certain village along his way to Jerusalem, ten lepers approached him.

The ten lepers met our Lord outside the town because they were not allowed to live inside the city with the people, because they had leprosy. Leprosy was considered contagious, an "unclean disease" and lepers generally lived in colonies with other lepers rather than their families.

Lepers could not live among people that did not have the disease nor could they stand among them for fear the disease would be rapidly spread. One could contract leprosy by respiratory means, breathing the same air if infected, or by contact such as touching a person with leprosy.

The lepers cried out to the Lord Jesus Christ "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" (Luke 17:13). When our Lord saw the ten lepers He did indeed have mercy on them and instructed the lepers to come closer to Him rather than back away from Him. The Lord Jesus Christ was not afraid of contracting their disease. He said to the lepers, "Go, show yourselves to the priests" (Luke 17:14).

The ten lepers did as the Lord Jesus Christ told them and on the way to show themselves to the priests they were healed. The priests continued to have very important roles in the lives of the people even while the Lord Himself was on the earth ministering to the people. The Lord Jesus did not abolish the role of the priests but rather emphasized their roles. While our Lord did the miracle of healing the lepers, He very directly instructed the lepers to allow the priests to declare they were considered clean and free of disease.

They were so very happy at being healed of leprosy that they forgot to return to thank the Lord….except for one of the lepers. Only one of the ten lepers returned to bow before the Lord and thank Him with all his heart. This leper was not a Jew, the most likely to be thankful, but a Samaritan.

The Lord Jesus Christ asked the one leper, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:17-18).

Then the Lord said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well" (Luke 17:19).

There would be another time in the Holy Bible that our Lord Jesus Christ would heal a leper of his disease. Our Lord was preaching and teaching in Galilee when a leper came to Him and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean" (Luke 5:12).

The Lord Jesus Christ was full of mercy for the leper. He reached out His Holy Hand and touched the leper and said, "I am willing; be cleansed" (Luke 5:13). In seconds all the sores of leprosy fell off the leper's skin and the leper stood up a clean and healed man. "And He charged him to tell no one, 'But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded'" (Luke 5:15).

But this leper who had been healed could not keep still. He told everyone he came across that he had met the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest of prophets and He had healed his leprosy.


  1. Why did the lepers meet the Lord on the outskirts of their town?
  2. Explain why the lepers were separated from those that did not have leprosy.
  3. Was the Lord Jesus Christ afraid of contracting leprosy?
  4. Did the Lord abolish the priesthood during his ministry? How do we know this?
  5. Of the 10 lepers healed of leprosy, how many returned to say "thank you"?

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