Luke 17:14

ESV When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
NIV When he saw them, he said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed.
NASB When He saw them, He said to them, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' And as they were going, they were cleansed.
CSB When he saw them, he told them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And while they were going, they were cleansed.
NLT He looked at them and said, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
KJV And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

What does Luke 17:14 mean?

Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem. He's entered a village on the border of Galilee and Samaria. Ten lepers approach Him but keep a safe distance away. Since the village is not walled, they are allowed inside. Instead of shouting, "Unclean! Unclean!" they cry, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us" (Luke 17:11–13). Jesus complies.

According to the Mosaic law, priests are responsible for diagnosing leprosy (Leviticus 13). The "leprosy" of the Bible, of course, is not necessarily the exact condition defined by that term in modern medicine: Hansen's disease. The biblical word is a blanket term for a variety of ailments afflicting people and fabric. The priests have extensive descriptions of what does and doesn't constitute leprosy. In addition to the physical pain and discomfort, victims must dress as if they are in mourning, live apart from family, and stay away from the temple. It's no accident that the ten are not described as "healed" but rather as "cleansed." They are ceremonially restored and can once again worship at the temple.

Priests are also responsible for recognizing when someone has been cured from leprosy. Once the person is physically healed, they go through a week-long process of sacrifices and bathing before being accepted back in public company (Leviticus 14:1–32.) Naturally, someone won't go to the priests unless they are sure they are cured. These ten men have the faith to leave immediately after Jesus orders them to. They seem confident that by the time they find a priest they will be healed and can begin the cleansing ceremony.

Shortly before this story, Luke includes an interaction between Jesus and the disciples wherein the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus tells them they can do a great amount with very little faith (Luke 17:5–6). Luke follows the account of the lepers with another altercation with the Pharisees; this time, they ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is coming. Jesus tells them the kingdom of God isn't what they think it is. In fact, it has already arrived (Luke 17:20–21).

The lepers realize this but only one provides witness. One healed leper—a Samaritan (John 4:9; 8:48)—returns and praises God for Jesus' work. Jesus repeats what He has said before, "your faith has made you well," suggesting that not only is the Samaritan's skin cured, but his soul is, as well (Luke 17:15–19).
What is the Gospel?
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