Luke 17: 11-19 Ten Lepers Why return? Jesus said go

In Lk 17: 11-19 Jesus tells the ten lepers to go show yourself to the priests. Then he is surprised when only one returns. Seems to me there was one disobedient leper and nine obedient. It is not that they were ungrateful, rather it is was that they were obedient. Why was Jesus surprised?

I would say that the Scriptures are clear on this. The ten were healed as they went to show themselves to the priest, so they were all obedient to what they were told. The Samaritan, when he saw that he was healed (this would not have been official unless he had shown himself to the priest), went back to Jesus to give thanks while the other nine went off to do something else (we’re not told what, just that they did not go back to Jesus to give thanks). I think the surprise was due to the fact that nine lepers (presumably Jews; descendants of Abraham) did not come back to give thanks, while a Samaritan did.

Hope this helps!


You’re not alone …
I’ve been wondering about this too lately.
How about this?
All ten lepers could have returned to Jesus to thank Him,
and THEN continued on their journey to show themselves to the priests.

I really do not see surprise in the words of Jesus but a pointing to the fact that it was the foreigner who was the only one who returned to thank Jesus. (Note here that the Samaritan would have no business showing himself to the priest anyway in that the priest would not have accepted him because he was not “human” but a Samaritan.) It would seem that the story points, much like the “woman at the well” to the fact that Jesus has come to save even those outside the Jewish faith.:shrug:

I thought it might be as you answered. Then again, why did Jesus ask where are the other nine? Let’s assume he was not surprised and simply asking a question to make a point. What was the point? Why didn’t he say, “Praise God, this Samaritan has returned to give thanks!” or something like that. He asked the question to shed light on a deeper reality. What is that reality and why did he need to include the other nine in his comment? Perhaps you have already explicated this and I have failed to see it.

To fulfill the prophecies as it is written:
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).

It would seem to me that the majority of the Jews did not believe in Jesus even though He spent most of His time ministering to them, preaching to them and performing great works for them. Maybe the 9 who did not return to thank Him symbolize that majority who even though they were shown great mercy do not accept Jesus.

On the other hand, the story might not end there. It could be that once the nine presented themselves to the priest and were declared clean some sought out Jesus and followed Him, some went on their merry way and lived good lives and some fell back into their old ways. :shrug:

I just love scripture!:smiley:

This actually might show disappointment on Jesus’ part. He is calling the Jews to salvation and they are not responding as He wishes. Also, I like your reply because it at the same time brings a conclusion but leaves open the possibility for other interpretations. If you get to heaven before me (assuming I make it) please ask Him and send an answer. A real answer not a cryptic message or a mystical vision. A email will be just fine. Getting read to go to Thursday night Mass now.

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