Jesus honored the one who disobeyed Him!

Luke 17:12-19

12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy {12 The Greek word was used for various diseases affecting the skin– not necessarily leprosy.} met him. They stood at a distance
13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him– and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?
18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

There is something crazy about this passage.

First consider the law centered mentality of much of Judaism at the time of Christ, which is unfortunately alive and well today. They had developed a relationship with the Law instead of with God. Consequently, they were unable to recognize the Lawgiver in their midst.

Jesus taught that God looks beyond law keeping, which tended to give the las keeper a boastful heart, and instead looks at things like gratitude which come from the heart.

Notice that these lepers were told by the Lord:

“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

Prior to being cleansed they knew that they would not be welcomed by the priest. “Going” showed faith that something would happen prior to arriving where the priest was. So we may conclude that both the lepers and Jesus knew (of course) that they would be healed on the way.

Yet ,Jesus still said:

“Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

Those were his instructions. They are fairly clear without a lot of gray area in them.

Imagine how the trip to the priest might have gone.

The ten are traveling along and all of a sudden they are healed. Some celebration and high fives and shouts of “let’s go show the priest!”

Then one steps out of line (double meaning).

“Hey, where are you going?” one of the other lepers asks.

“I am going back to thank Jesus” the out of line one replies.

“But He told us to go show ourselves to the priest!” the nine complained in unison.

“I know, but I just can’t wait. I have to go back.”

“You are going to get into trouble! Think about it logically. Jesus knew you would be healed on the way, but He told you to go to the priest anyway. He didn’t say ‘come back when you are healed.’ You are disobeying a direct command from Jesus!” The eldest one may have argued.

As the one headed back to Jesus the nine walked on toward the priest in obedience to the command of the Lord and likely conversed about people like that one guy who just refuse to submit themselves to the will of the Lord.

So the one arrives back where Jesus is and throws himself at Jesus’ feet and worships, praising God.

And Jesus rebukes him for disobeying the directions that he had been given and for failing to go see the priest. So the leprosy returns to the man for his disobedience.

Oh, wait. No. That wasn’t Jesus’ response!

Instead, Jesus asked where the other nine were.

The answer is:


Yet, those other nine are not praised here for their obedience; the one who was disobedient is! How crazy is that? It is like David’s dance (maybe), Rahab’s lie, or Eliezar’s and Ithamar’s refusal to obey Moses (they disobeyed what Moses told them was a most holy command after their brothers Nadab and Abihu were killed in the presence of the Lord in Leviticus 10. and didn’t get in trouble for it).

It is not about our works! It is about our response to God’s love.

Paul taught something similar to this in Romans 4:5

“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” If we understand the magnitude of this statement we also will fall down at the feet of Jesus and worship and praise God.

Just some of my thoughts about that.

God bless!