WE NEED MERCY MORE THAN VALIDATION
Luke 17:14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
The Lord does not touch these ritually defiled men as He had for an earlier case of leprosy that He healed.
Neither does He make any promises to them for healing. He makes no command for the disease to depart. He prescribed no medicine. He commanded no washing with water.
Instead, He orders them to present themselves to the priests, presumably at a temple for their reclassification as “clean.”
He treats these men with leprosy as if they are already healed; and when they obey in faith, their healing takes place.
Jesus’ command conforms precisely to the traditional rite of cleansing as required by the Mosaic law. He is no renegade rabbi. Yet healing power accompanied His words.
The instruction itself is curious since the law commanded those with leprosy to present themselves to the priests after there had already been a change in their condition (Lev 14:2-4).
The priests were basically “health care consultants” in these matters. They could either exclude people or restore their social statuses in the community. They were not physicians in any regard.
The lepers are required to act as though doing what Jesus commands will make a difference, though there is yet no tangible evidence that it will.
What do they have to lose? It’s worth a try so they all go.
“And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.”
One commentator points out, “help meets them in the path of obedience.”
As the lepers acted on Jesus’ command, their leprosy was removed. It was both a disease that needed healing and a ritual impurity that required cleansing.
This is remarkable, of course. Jesus’ power and authority are so great that He can heal from a distance. He did the same thing when He raised up the servant of a certain centurion (7:10).
At what point did all ten realize that their leprosy had been cured? Even though Luke is a doctor, we are not told.
Anyone can tell immediately if his sight or hearing or ability to speak has been restored. What would the evidence be that leprosy had been cleansed? Does the skin immediately heal? Do red spots or scales vanish? Do digits regrow?
One of the ten looks at his body and notices the change!