11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
I got a call from an old friend the other day. He is doing well, and I am glad. It was not so a few years ago when we spoke. He was going through a very difficult time in his life. He struggled with an addiction. His marriage had ended. He did not know what do as the father to his only child. She had been a little girl when we had first met, now a young woman.
We often pray for people’s physical ailments in church and that is a good thing, but I wonder sometimes if we should not pray a little more earnestly for the deeper healing of people’s souls. I know I prayed this for my friend when his life was in a tailspin. Fix all his problems and he would still have been soul-sick. I am glad God heard those prayers and answered them.
The ten lepers who left Jesus that day were all cleansed. Their leprosy was cured. But one of them noticed something else. He had been healed. Luke, who may have been a physician, notes a different word in Greek for us. It is related to the word we use today for a doctor. It shows up as an ”ia” in the middle of a lot of words – think pediatric or geriatric medicine. This “ia” is the word Luke uses here for what the man realizes happened to him. It connotes health and wholeness. A pediatrician works toward the health of children. He had not simply been made clean of his leprosy, but true health, whole health had been given to him.
He comes back and praises God and thanks Jesus. Jesus sends him on his way with another important word. Your faith has made you well. This word “made well” could have been translated “saved.” This is the word for one who has been rescued from Satan’s clutches and restored to the grace and favor of God. Jesus offers us far more than just the healing of our bodies. He does that, to be sure. But that is the smallest part of his healing. He heals our whole lives, He heals our souls.