Luke 17:11
While Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.
Where are the Nine?Alexander MaclarenLuke 17:11
Graces Stimulated and StrengthenedR.M. Edgar Luke 17:1-19
But Where are the NineS. Cox, D. D.Luke 17:11-19
Fourteenth Sunday After TrinityJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Luke 17:11-19
God Looks After The NineJ. M. Sherwood, D. D.Luke 17:11-19
Gratitude for Divine FavoursT. Gibson, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
Gratitude Heightens the Power of EnjoymentE. P. Hood.Luke 17:11-19
Gratitude is a Self-Rewarding VirtueCanon Mozley.Luke 17:11-19
Health More than Sickness a Reason for GratitudeC. Kingsley, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
Human IngratitudeLuke 17:11-19
Impediments to GratitudeCanon Mozley.Luke 17:11-19
Ingratitude for Divine FavoursC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 17:11-19
Ingratitude Towards GodHorar.Luke 17:11-19
Instances of IngratitudeD. Moore, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
Only Trust HimC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 17:11-19
Praise NeglectedC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 17:11-19
ThanksgivingCanon Scott Holland, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The Causes of IngratitudeUrijah R. Thomas.Luke 17:11-19
The Commonness of Ingratitude, EtcW. Clarkson Luke 17:11-19
The Earnestness of Personal NecessityP. B. Power, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The LepersB. Beddome, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The Samaritan's GratitudeM. F. Sadler.Luke 17:11-19
The Sin of IngratitudeCanon Liddon.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersJ. Burns, D. D.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersG. R. Leavitt.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersF. F. Gee, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersR. Winterbotham, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersD. C. Hughes, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersC. Bradley, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
The Ten LepersT. Gibson, M. A.Luke 17:11-19
Unexpected PietyE. P. Hood.Luke 17:11-19
Words of Encouragement to Disappointed WorkersC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 17:11-19

Under the guidance of this narrative, we think of -

I. THE COMMONNESS OF INGRATITUDE. Only one of these ten men had a sufficient sense of indebtedness to return to Christ to offer thanks. The ingratitude of the remaining nine touched, smote, wounded our Lord, and he used the reproachful words of the text (ver. 17). This ingratitude was not a remarkably exceptional illustration of our nature; it is one of those things in respect of which "he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." For that which youth refuses to believe, experience obliges us to acknowledge, viz. that to accept a great boon from the hand of love, and to show no proper sense of gratitude, is not a rare but a common thing. It is likely enough that we may go much out of our way to do a man a kindness, and that when we look for his response we shall be disappointed. What then? Shall we be diverted from the path of beneficence by this unlovely fact? Shall we say, "Since it is very likely that my services will not be appreciated, they shall not be rendered"? Certainly not. For:

1. There is gratitude to be gained and to be enjoyed. This proportion is not representative. It is not the case that nine men out of ten are insensible to kindnesses shown them. It is as likely as not, perhaps more likely than not, that if we do help out brother in his hour of need, if we do sustain him in sorrow, succour him in distress, stand by him in temptation, lead him into the kingdom of God, we shall win his gratitude, and we may secure the profound, prayerful, lifelong affection of a human heart. And what better reward, short of the favour and friendship of God, can we gain than that?

2. If we fail to obtain this, we shall stand by the side of our Divine Master; we shall share his experience; we shall have "fellowship with the sufferings of Christ." He knew well what it was to serve and be unappreciated, to serve and be disparaged. To be where he stood, to

"Tread the path our Master trod,
To bear the cross he bore," = - this is an honour not to be declined.

3. If man our brother does not bless us, Christ our Saviour will. The most heroic deed of love may go, has gone, unrewarded of man. But the smallest act of kindness rendered to the humblest child will not go unrewarded of him. "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only... shall in no wise lose his reward."

II. THE UNCOUNTED DEBT DUE TO JESUS CHRIST. These nine men having received the greatest good one man could receive from another - deliverance from a living death - failed to recognize their obligation, did not stop to consider it. They were not the last to be guilty in this respect.

1. How much more do many owe to Christ than they think they do! They say, "We do not choose to range ourselves under him and call him 'Master;' we can construct our own character, can build up rectitude and purity and benevolence of spirit apart from his truths or his will; we can do without Christ." But suppose we subtract from the elevating and purifying influences which have made these men what they are all those elements which are due to Christ, how much is left? How little is left? The influences that come from him are in the air these men are breathing, in the laws under which they are living, in the literature they are reading, in the lives they are witnessing; they touch and tell upon them at every point, they act silently and subtly but mightily upon them; they owe to Jesus Christ the best they are and have; they ought to come into direct, living, personal relations with the Lord himself.

2. How much more do some men owe to Christ than they stay to consider! These nine men would not have disputed their obligation had they been challenged, but they were so anxious to get home to their friends and back to their business that they did not stay to consider it. Have we stayed to consider what we owe to him who, though he has not indeed cured us of leprosy, has at infinite cost to himself prepared for us a way of recovery from that which is immeasurably worse - from sin and death? to him who, "though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich?"

III. THE PERIL OF EARLY PRIVILEGE. It is significant enough that the tenth leper who did return to give glory to God was a Samaritan - was "this stranger." Taking this fact with that concerning the Roman soldier whose faith surprised our Lord, and that of the Syro-Phoenician woman whose importunity prevailed over every obstacle, we may conclude that the Hebrew mind was so familiarized with "signs and wonders," that those outside the sacred circle were far more impressed by what they witnessed than the people of God themselves. It is well to he the children of privilege; but there is one grave peril connected with it. We may become so familiar with the greatest of all facts as to become insensible to their greatness. The Swiss peasant who lives on the Alpine slopes sees no grandeur in those snow-clad summits on which his eyes are always resting; the sailor who lives by the sea hears no music in "old ocean's roar." We may become so familiar even with the story of the cross that our minds are unaffected by its moral grandeur, by its surpassing grace. It behoves us to take earnest heed that we fall not into this fatal snare; lest many should come "from the north, and the south, and the east, and the west, and sit down in the kingdom of God," and we, the children of the kingdom, be excluded. We must do our utmost to realize the great truths which have so long been uttered in our hearing. - C.

Ten men that were lepers.


1. Observe the distance they kept from His person.

2. The earnestness of their prayer.

3. The unanimity of their application.

4. The reverence and faith they evinced.



1. The willingness and power of Christ to heal.

2. The application to be made.

3. The return He demands of those He saves.

4. The commonness of ingratitude.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE STORY ENCOURAGES WORK ON FRONTIERS AND BORDERS. Jesus met the lepers "in the midst of" — that is, probably, along the frontier line between — "Samaria and Galilee," on His way east to the Jordan. Their common misery drew these natural enemies, the Jews and the Samaritans, together. The national prejudice of each was destroyed. Under these circumstances the border was a favourable retreat for them. The border population is always freer from prejudice and more open to influence.

II. THE STORY SHOWS THAT THERE IS A SENSE IN WHICH IMPENITENT MEN CAN PRAY. The lepers prayed. That weak, hoarse cry affecting]y expressed their sense of need — one characteristic of true prayer. Their standing afar off further expressed their sense of guilt — another characteristic of acceptable prayer. Their disease was a type of the death of sin. Their isolation expressed the exclusion of the polluted and abominable from the city of God.



V. THE STORY SHOWS US THAT A DEGREE OF FAITH MAY EXIST WITHOUT LOVE, AND SO WITHOUT SAVING POWER. There was a weak beginning of faith in all the ten. It is shown in their setting out without a word, though as yet uncleansed, for Jerusalem. This must have required faith of a high order. If it had worked by love all would have been saved. This was one trouble with the nine, and the radical one — they did not love. Calvin describes their case, and that of many like them. "Want and hunger," he says, "create a faith which gratification kills." It is real faith, yet hath it no root.

VI. THE STORY SHOWS US THE SIN OF INGRATITUDE, AND THE PLACE WHICH GRATITUDE FILLS WITH GOD. The Samaritan was the only one who returned, and he was the only one saved. "Birth did not give the Jew a place in the kingdom of heaven; gratitude gave it to a Samaritan." Blessings are good, but not for themselves. They are to draw us to the Giver, they are tests of character. True gratitude to God involves two things, both of which were found in the leper.

1. He was humble; he fell at Jesus' feet. He remembered what he had been when Jesus found him, and the pit whence he was digged. If blessings do not make us humble, they are lost upon us.

2. Gratitude involves, also, the exaltation of God. The leper glorified God. A German, who was converted, expressed himself afterward with a beautiful spirit of humility and praise: "My wife is rejoicing," he said, "I am rejoicing, my Saviour is rejoicing." On another occasion he said, "I went this evening to kiss my little children good-night. As I was standing there my wife said to me, 'Dear husband, you love these our children very dearly, but it is not a thousandth part as much as the blessed Saviour loves us.'" What spirit should more characterize God's creatures than gratitude? What should we more certainly look for as the mark of a Christian? God blesses it. He blessed the leper; He cleansed the leprosy deeper than that in his flesh, the leprosy of sin. The nine went on their way with bodies healed, but with a more loathsome disease still upon them, the leprosy of ingratitude. We classify sins. "We may find by and by that in God's sight ingratitude is the blackest of all." There is an application of this truth to Christians which we should not miss. Gratitude gives continual access to higher and higher blessings. The ungrateful Christian loses spiritual blessings. If we value the gift above the Giver, all that we should receive in returning to Him we lose.

(G. R. Leavitt.)


1. A healthy body.

2. Restoration to society.

3. Re-admission to the sanctuary.



1. In the bestowment of His grace, God is no respecter of persons.

2. Our Lord regards moral and religious obligations as more important than those which are positive and ceremonial.

3. Answers to prayer should be received with thanksgiving.

(F. F. Gee, M. A.)

Affliction quickens to prayer; but those who remember God in their distresses often forget Him in their deliverances.

1. Observe the condition in which Jesus found the applicants.

2. Observe the state in which Jesus left them.

3. Their subsequent conduct.


1. It is a sin so very common that not one in ten can be found that is not guilty of it in a very flagrant manner, and not one in ten thousand but what is liable to the charge in some degree. It is a prevailing vice among all ranks and conditions in society.

2. Common as this sin is, it is nevertheless a sin of great magnitude. Should not the patient be thankful for the recovery of his health, especially where the relief has been gratuitously afforded? Should not the debtor or the criminal be thankful to his surety or his prince, who freely gave him his liberty or his life?(1) It is a sin of which no one can be ignorant; it is a sin against the light of nature, as well as against the law of revelation.(2) Ingratitude carries in it a degree of injustice towards the Author of all our mercies, in that it denies to Him the glory due unto His name, and is a virtual impeachment of His goodness.(3) Unthankfulness brings a curse upon the blessings we enjoy, and provokes the Giver to deprive us of them.


1. Be clothed with humility, and cherish a proper sense of your own meanness and unworthiness.

2. Dive every mercy its full weight. Call no sin small, and no mercy small.

3. Take a collective view of all your mercies, and you will see perpetual cause far thankfulness.

4. Consider your mercies in a comparative view. Compare them with your deserts: put your provocations in one scale, and Divine indulgences in another, and see which preponderates. Compare your afflictions with your mercies.

5. Think how ornamental to religion is a grateful and humble spirit.

6. There is no unthankfulness in heaven.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

1. The first thing I would have you notice is, that the ten were at first undistinguishable in their misery. That there were differences of character among them we know; that there were differences of race, of education, and training, we know too, for one at least was a Samaritan, and under no other circumstances, perhaps, would his companions have had any dealings with him; but all their differences were obliterated, their natural antipathies were lost, beneath the common pressure of their frightful misery — their very voices were blended in one urgent cry, "Jesus, Master, have mercy upon us." "One touch of nature," says the great poet, "makes the whole world kin": true, and alas I never so true as when that touch of nature is the sense of guilt. This is the great leveller, not only of the highest and lowest, but of the best and worst, effacing all distinctions, even of moral character; for, when one attempts to weigh one's sin and count it up, it seems impossible to establish degrees in one's own favour — one feels as if there were a dreadful equality of guilt for all, and one was no better than another.

2. I would have you notice, in the second place, the apparent tameness of their cure. Our Lord neither lays His finger on them, nor holds any conference, but, merely tells them to go and show themselves to the priests, according to the letter of that now antiquated and perishing law of Moses. Never was so great a cure worked in so tame a fashion since the time of Naaman the Syrian; well for them that they had a humbler spirit and a more confiding faith than he, or they, too, would, have gone away in a rage and been never the better. Now, I think we may see in this a striking parable of how our Lord evermore deals with penitent sinners. He does not, as a rule, make any wonderful revelation of Himself to the soul which He heals; there is no dramatic "scene" which can be reported to others. There is, indeed, often something very commonplace, and therefore disappointing, about His dealings with penitents. He remits them to their religious duties — to those things which men account as outward and formal, and therefore feeble, which have indeed no power at all in themselves to heal the leprosy of sin, such as the means of grace, the ministry of reconciliation. In these things there is no excitement; they do not carry away the soul with a rush of enthusiasm, or fill it with a trembling awe.

3. And, in the third place, I would have you notice the unexpected way in which He addressed the one who came back to express his heartfelt gratitude." "Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole." Now, it is obvious that these words were just as applicable to the other nine as to him, for they, too, had been made whole, and made whole by faith; all had believed, all had started off obediently to show themselves to the priests, and all alike had been cleansed through faith as they went. Does it not seem strange that He took no notice of the gratitude which was peculiar to the one to whom He spake, and only made mention of the faith which was common to them all? Did He not do it advisedly? Did He not intend us to learn a lesson thereby? We know that this story sets forth as a parable our own conduct as redeemed and pardoned sinners. We know that the great bulk of Christians are ungrateful; that they are far more concerned in lamenting the petty losses and securing the petty gains of life, than in showing their thankfulness to God for His inestimable love. What about them? Will unthankful Christians also receive the salvation of their souls? I suppose so. I think this story teaches us so, and I think our Lord's words to the one that returned are meant to enforce that teaching. All were cleansed, though only one gave glory to God; even so we are all made whole by faith, though scarcely one in ten shows any gratitude for it. The ingratitude of Christian people may indeed mar very grievously the work of grace, but it cannot undo it. "Thy faith hath made thee whole" is the common formula which includes all the saved, although amongst them be found differences so striking, and deficiencies so painful. There are that use religion itself selfishly, thinking only of the personal advantage it will be to themselves, and of the pleasure it brings within their reach. But these are certainly not the happiest. Vexed with every trifle, worried about every difficulty, entangled with a thousand uncertainties, if all things go well they just acquiesce in it, as if they had a right to expect it; if things go wrong they begin at once to complain, as though they were ill-used; if they become worse, then they are miserable, as though all cause for rejoicing were gone. Now, I need not remind you how fearfully such a temper dishonours God. When He has freely given us an eternal inheritance of joy, a kingdom which cannot be shaken, an immortality beyond the reach of sin or suffering, it is simply monstrous that we should murmur at the shadows of sorrow which fleck our sea of blessing, it should seem simply incredible that we do not continually pour out our very souls in thanksgiving unto Him that loved us and gave Himself for us. But I will say this, that our ingratitude is the secret of our little happiness in this life. Our redeemed lives were meant to be like that summer sea when it dances and sparkles beneath the glorious sun instead of which they are like a sullen, muddy pool upon a cloudy day, which gives back nothing but the changing hues of gloom. It is not outward circumstance, it is the presence or absence of a thankful spirit which makes all the difference to our lives. Gratitude to God is the sunshine of our souls, with which the tamest scene is bright and the wildest beautiful, without which the fairest landscape is but sombre.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Three impressive and instructive pictures are described in this gospel.

I. A CONGREGATION OF SUFFERERS, whom affliction influenced to much seeming goodness and piety. It is a beautiful and comforting truth, that there is no depth of suffering, or distance from the pure and the good to which sin may banish men in this world, where they are debarred from carrying their sorrows and griefs in prayer to God. A man may be guilty, leprous, cast out, cut off, given up as irretrievably lost; and yet, if he will, he may call on God for help, and the genuine, hearty, earnest, and real cry of his soul will reach the ear of God.

II. A MARVELLOUS INTERFERENCE OF DIVINE POWER AND GRACE for their relief, very unsatisfactorily acknowledged and improved. Dark-day and sick-bed religion is apt to be a religion of mere constraint. Take the pressure off, and it is apt to be like the morning cloud and the early dew, which "goeth away." Give me a man who has learned to know and fear God in the daytime, and I shall not be much in doubt of him when the night comes. But the piety which takes its existence in times of cloud and darkness, like the growths common to such seasons, is apt to be as speedy in its decline as it is quick and facile in its rise. There are mushrooms in the field of grace, as well as in the field of nature.

III. AN INSTANCE OF LONELY GRATITUDE, resulting in most precious blessings superadded to the miraculous cure. There was not only a faith to get the bodily cure, but a faith which brought out a complete and practical discipleship; an earnest and abiding willingness, in prosperity as well as in adversity, to wear the Saviour's yoke.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

As these men were to start straight away to the priest with all their leprosy white upon them, and to go there as if they felt they were already healed, so are you, with all your sinnership upon you, and your sense of condemnation heavy on your soul, to believe in Jesus Christ just as you are, and you shall find everlasting life upon the spot.

I. First, then, I say that we are to believe in Jesus Christ — to trust Him to heal us of the great disease of sin — though as yet we may have about us no sign or token that He has wrought any good work upon us. We are not to look for signs and evidences within ourselves before we venture our souls upon Jesus. The contrary supposition is a soul-destroying error, and I will try to expose it by showing what are the signs that are commonly looked for by men.

1. One of the most frequent is a consciousness of great sin, and a horrible dread of Divine wrath, leading to despair. If you say, "Lord, I cannot trust Thee unless I feel this or that," then you, in effect, say, "I can trust my own feelings, but I cannot trust God's appointed Saviour." What is this but to make a god out of your feelings, and a saviour out of your inward griefs?

2. Many other persons think that they must, before they can trust Christ, experience quite a blaze of joy. "Why," you say, "must I not be happy before I can believe in Christ?" Must you needs have the joy before you exercise the faith? How unreasonable!

3. We have known others who have expected to have a text impressed upon their minds. In old families there are superstitions about white birds coming to a window before a death, and I regard with much the same distrust the more common superstition that if a text continues upon your mind day after clay you may safely conclude that it is an assurance of your salvation. The Spirit of God often does apply Scripture with power to the soul; but this fact is never set forth as the rock for us to build upon.

4. There is another way in which some men try to get off believing in Christ, and that is, they expect an actual conversion to be manifest in them before they will trust the Saviour. Conversion is the manifestation of Christ's healing power. But you are not to have this before you trust Him; you are to trust Him for this very thing.

II. And now, secondly, I want to bring forward WHAT THE REASON IS FOR OUR BELIEVING IN JESUS CHRIST. No warrant whatever within ourself need be looked for. The warrant for our believing Christ lies in this —

1. There is God's witness concerning His Son Jesus Christ. God, the Everlasting Father, has set forth Christ "to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sin of the whole world."

2. The next warrant for our believing is Jesus Christ Himself. He bears witness on earth as well as the Father, and His witness is true.

3. I dare say these poor lepers believed in Jesus because they had heard of other lepers whom He had cleansed.

III. WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF THIS KIND OF FAITH THAT I HAVE BEEN PREACHING? This trusting in Jesus without marks, signs, evidences, tokens, what is the result and outcome of it?

1. The first thing that I have to say about it is this — that the very existence of such a faith as that in the soul is evidence that there is already a saving change. Every man by nature kicks against simply trusting in Christ; and when at last he yields to the Divine method of mercy it is a virtual surrender of his own will, the ending of rebellion, the establishment of peace. Faith is obedience.

2. It will be an evidence, also, that you are humble; for it is pride that makes men want to do something, or to be something, in their own salvation, or to be saved in some wonderful way.

3. Again, faith in Jesus will be the best evidence.that you are reconciled to God, for the worst evidence of your enmity to God is that you do not like God's way of salvation.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)



1. The occasion of the surprise.(1) They suddenly met Jesus.

(a)Life is full of surprises.

(b)To meet Jesus is the-best of all life's surprises.

2. The effects of this surprise.

(1)Hope was enkindled within them.

(2)Prayer for mercy broke forth from them.

(3)Healing of their dreadful malady was experienced by them.


1. Consider the number healed.

2. The cry which brought the healing.

3. The simultaneousness of the healing.

4. The ingratitude of the healed.

(1)Only one returned to acknowledge the mercy.

(2)This one a stranger.

(3)The ungrateful are those of the Master's own household.

(4)Are these representative facts?

5. Consider the special blessing bestowed on the grateful soul.

(1)Not only healed in body, but also in soul.

(2)Soul-healing ever requires personal faith.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)


1. Unanimous.

2. Earnest.

3. Respectful and humble.


1. A wonderful manifestation of Christ's power. He is a rich Saviour, rich in mercy and rich in power.

2. Great faith and obedience exhibited on their part.


1. Prompt.

2. Warm, hearty, earnest.

3. Humble and reverential.More so, observe, than even his prayer. When he cried for mercy, he stood; when he gives thanks for mercy, he falls down on his face, The thankfulness of this man was elevated also. It was accompanied with high thoughts of God, and a setting forth, as far as he was able, of God's glory. He is said in the text to have "glorified God." And observe how he blends together in his thankfulness God and Christ. He glorifies the one, and at the same time he falls down before the other, giving Him thanks. Did he then look on our Lord in His real character, as God? Perhaps he did. The wonderful cure he had received in his body, might have been accompanied with as wonderful an outpouring of grace and light into his mind. God and Christ, God's glory and Christ's mercy, were so blended together in his mind, that he could not separate them. Neither, brethren, can you separate them, if you know anything aright of Christ and His mercy.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

1. Look at the afflicted objects.

2. Observe the direction of the Divine Physician. The Saviour, by sending the lepers to the priest, not only honoured the law which had prescribed this conduct, but secured to Himself the testimony of the appointed judge and witness of the cure; for, as this disease was considered to be both inflicted and cured by the hand of God Himself, and as He had cured it, He thus left a witness in the conscience of the priest, that He was what He professed to be.

3. Follow these men on the road, and behold the triumphant success of Christ's merciful designs. Christ's cure was not only effectual, but universal. No one of the ten is excepted as too diseased, or too unworthy; but among all these men there is only one that we look at with pleasure. He was a stranger.

4. Contemplate more closely the grateful Samaritan. What a lovely object is gratitude at the feet of Mercy!

5. But what a contrast is presented by the ungrateful Jews.

6. Yet how gently the Saviour rebukes their unthankfulness. He might have said — "What! so absorbed in the enjoyment of health as to forget the Giver! Then the leprosy which I healed shall return to you, and cleave to you for ever." But, no; He only asks — "Are there not found any that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger?" And, turning to the man prostrate in the dust at His feet, Jesus said, "Arise, go to thy house, thy faith hath made thee whole."Concluding lessons —

1. This subject shows the compassion of the Saviour.

2. Let each ask himself, "Am I a leper?"

3. See the hatefulness of ingratitude.

(T. Gibson, M. A.)

I. WE ARE CONTINUALLY RECEIVING FAVOURS FROM GOD. No creature is independent. All are daily receiving from the Father of lights, from whom "cometh every good and perfect gift," and "with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning." Our bodies, with all their powers; and our souls, with all their capacities, are derived from Him. But whilst the beneficence of the Supreme Being is, in one sense, general; it is, in another, restricted. Some are more highly favoured than others. Some have experienced remarkable interpositions of Divine providence. Some have been raised up from dangerous illness. Some have been advanced in worldly possessions. Some are the partakers of distinguished privileges. Such are those who are favoured with the dispensation of the gospel.


1. Gratitude will not be regarded as unsuitable. We always expect this from our fellow-creatures who participate in our bounty.

2. Commendation is another suitable return. Make known the lovely character of your merciful Redeemer to others.

3. Service is another suitable return. "Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and with godly fear."

4. Humiliation is a suitable return. This Samaritan prostrated himself before his Divine Healer. How unspeakable is the felicity of that man, who, deeply humbled under a sense of the manifold mercies of God, can lift up his eyes to the great Judge of quick and dead, and say in sincerity, "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my soul lofty, neither do I exercise myself in great matters, nor in things too high for me; I have surely behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of its mother: my soul is even u a weaned child!"

5. Honour is a suitable return. This Samaritan was not, perhaps, acquainted with our Lord's divinity; but he regarded Him as some extraordinary personage, and, as was customary in such cases, he prostrated himself before Him, as a token of great respect and veneration. Entertain the most exalted conceptions of Him; you cannot raise your thoughts too high: "He is God over all, blessed for ever."

III. THAT THIS RETURN IS TOO COMMONLY NEGLECTED. The cause of this forgetfulness is to be traced, in general, to the influence of inward depravity; and nothing is a clearer proof of the corruption of our nature; but there are other causes, co-operating with this, of which we may mention two. First: Worldly prosperity. Honey does not more powerfully attract bees than affluence generates danger. Secondly: Worldly anxiety is another cause of this forgetfulness.

IV. WE MAY OBSERVE, THAT TO NEGLECT A RETURN OF GRATITUDE TO GOD IS HIGHLY REPREHENSIBLE. Nay, it is exceedingly sinful. What insensibility does it argue, and what criminality does it involve! It is a virtual denial of the Divine providence.

(T. Gibson, M. A.)

One fact is brought most powerfully before us here, and that is —

1. The personal necessity of these ten men. So strong was it that it gained a victory over national prejudices of the fiercest kind, and we find the Samaritan in company with the Jew. Amongst men not conscious of a common misery, such a union might have been looked for but in vain; the Jew would have loathed the Samaritan and the Samaritan would have scorned the Jew. And there is too much reason for supposing that a want of personal religion is the cause of much of that fierce estrangement which characterizes the different parties and denominations of the religious world in the present day. Did men realize their common sinfulness, the deep necessity which enfolds them all, we can well believe that much of the energy which is now wasted in profitless controversy and angry recrimination, would be spent in united supplication to the One, who alone can do ought for the sinner in his need.

2. Again we see how personal necessity triumphs over national prejudice, in the fact that the Samaritan is willing to call upon a Jew for safety and for help. Under ordinary circumstances he would have held no communion with Him at all, but the fact that he was a leper, and that Jesus could cure him, overcame the national antipathy and he joins his voice with that of all the rest. And surely thus also is it with the leper of the spiritual world; when he has been brought truly to know his state, truly to smart under its degradation and its pain, truly to believe that there is One at hand by whom he can be healed, the power of the former pride and prejudice becomes broken down, and he cries out in earnest to the long-despised Jesus for the needed help.

3. We have now seen the power of personal necessity in overcoming strongly-rooted prejudice; let us next proceed to consider it as productive of great earnestness in supplication. The supplication of these men was loud and personal; they lifted up their voices, and fixed on one alone of Jesu's company as able to deliver them, and that one was Jesus Christ Himself. And we can well understand how this plague-stricken family united their energies in a long, earnest cry to attract the attention of the One that alone could make them whole. Theirs was no feeble whisper, no dull and muffled sound, but a piteous, an agonizing call which almost startled the very air as it rushed along. Nor can we marvel if God refuse to hear the cold, dull prayers which for the most part fall upon His ear; they are not the expressions of need, and therefore find little favour at His hands; they come to Him like the compliments which men pay to their fellow-men, and meaning nothing, they are taken for exactly what they are worth.

4. And mark, how by the loudness of their cry these unhappy men expose their miserable state to Christ — the one absorbing point which they wished to press upon His notice was the fact that they were all lepers, ten diseased and almost despairing men. In their case there was no hiding of their woe, they wished the Lord to see the worst.

(P. B. Power, M. A.)

He was a Samaritan
It is necessary to notice the saving element in this man's gratitude. We can imagine the other nine saying to him as he turned back, "We are as grateful to God as you are, but we will return our thanks in the temple of God. There are certain acts of worship, certain sacrifices ordained in the law by God Himself. In the due performance of these we will thank God in His own appointed way. He who healed us is a great Prophet, but it is the great power of God alone which has cleansed us." Now the Samaritan was not content with this. His faith worked by love, taking the form of thankfulness. He at once left the nine to their journey, and, without delay, threw himself at the feet of the Lord. He felt that his was not a common healing — not a healing in the way of nature, by the disease exhausting itself in time. It was a supernatural healing, through the intervention of a particular servant of God; and this servant (or, perhaps, he had heard that Jesus claimed to be more than a servant, even the Son of God) must be thanked and glorified. If God had healed him in the ordinary course, the sacrifices prescribed for such healing would have sufficed. But God had healed him in an extraordinary way — by His Son, by One who was far greater than any prophet; and so, if God was to be glorified, it must be in connection with this extraordinary channel of blessing, this Mediator.

(M. F. Sadler.)

Man's gratitude is, I have often thought and said, a sixth sense; for it always heightens the power of enjoyment. Suppose a man to walk through the world with every sense excited to its utmost nerve: let there be a world of dainties spread before him and around him, and the aromas of all precious fragrances steeping his senses in delicious and exquisite enjoyment; let the eye be gladdened and brighten over: the knowledge, and the hand tighten over the grasp of present and actual possession, yet let him be a man in whose nature there wakes no keen sensation of grateful remembrance, and I say that yet the most delightful sensation is denied him. Grateful-thankfulness is allied to — nay, forms an ingredient in — the very chief of our deepest enjoyments, and purest springs of blessedness. Gratitude gives all the sweet spice to the cup of contentment, and the cup of discontent derives all its acid from an ungrateful heart.

(E. P. Hood.)

"And he was a Samaritan." Thus frequently, in like manner, have we been surprised at the the finding of gratitude to God in most unexpected places and persons. We have often seen that it is by no means in proportion to the apparent munificence of the Divine bounty. It is proverbial that the hymn of praise rises more frequently from the peasant's fireside than from palace gates — more frequently from straitened than from abounding circumstances. Wherefore let us ourselves adore the exalting graces of the Divine goodness, which makes the smallest measure of God's grace to outweigh the mightiest measure of circumstantial happiness. As long as God merely gives the gilded shell — the scaffolding of the palace — He gives but little; and it has been frequently said that He shows His disregard of riches by giving them to the worst of men frequently; but to possess a sense of His mercy and goodness, that exceeds them all.

(E. P. Hood.)

The Staubach is a fail of remarkable magnificence, seeming to leap from heaven; its glorious stream reminds one of the abounding mercy which in a mighty torrent descends from above. In the winter, when the cold is severe, the water freezes at the foot of the fall, and rises up in huge icicles like stalagmites, until it reaches the fall itself, as though it sought to bind it in the same icy fetters. How like this is to the common ingratitude of men! Earth's ingratitude rises up to meet heaven's mercy; as though the very goodness of God helped us to defy Him. Divine favours, frozen by human ingratitude, are proudly lifted in rebellion against the God who gave them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Where are the nine?

1. The ungrateful Christian acts against the voice of his conscience.

(1)Natural reason acknowledges the duty of gratitude.

(2)The general consent of mankind brands with infamy the ungrateful.

2. Ingratitude sinks the human being below the level of the brute creation.

3. Ingratitude is infinitely ignominious, because directed against God.

(1)God exhorts us so often to be grateful.

(2)His beneficence is unlimited.

(3)All His benefits are gratuities.

(4)The ungrateful man denies, in fact, the existence of God.


1. Temporal consequences.(1) God threatens to deprive the ungrateful of the blessings received (Luke 9:26). God has ever been the absolute owner of whatever He gives; and He gives and takes according to His good pleasure.

(a)He threatens so to direct events that His gift shall become a curse instead of a blessing to the ungrateful receiver.

(b)To refuse whatever he may ask for in future.

(c)To send chastisements upon him so as to convince him that He is the Lord.(2) God fulfilled His threatenings

(a)on our first parents;

(b)on Israel;

(c)on Nebuchadnezzar.

(d)Your own life and the life of your acquaintances will bear similar testimony.

2. Everlasting consequences. If the sinner remain ungrateful to the end of his earthly life, he will be deprived of all Divine gifts for all eternity. He will be deprived —(1) Of the Word of God, instead of which he will incessantly hear only the words of Satan.(2) Of the celestial light against which he closed his eyes; in punishment of which he will be buried in everlasting darkness.(3) Of the Beatific Vision, instead of which he will behold only the vision of devilish deformity.(4) Of the sacramental means of salvation.(5) Of heavenly peace and joy.


"The nine, where?" Thus Christ with censure, sadness, surprise inquires. There are more than nine sources of ingratitude. But there are nine, and each of these men may represent some one.

I. One is CALLOUS. He did not feel his misery as much as some, nor is he much stirred now by his return to health. Sullen, torpid, stony men are thankless. Callousness is a common cause of ingratitude.

II. One is THOUGHTLESS. He is more like shifting sand than hard stone, but he never reflects, never introspects, never recollects. The unreflecting are ungrateful.

III. One is PROUD. He has not had more than his merit in being healed. Why should he be thankful for what his respectability, his station, deserved? Only the humble-hearted are truly grateful.

IV. One is ENVIOUS. Though healed he has not all that some others have. They are younger, or stronger, or have more friends to welcome them. He is envious. Envy turns sour the milk of thankfulness.

V. One is COWARDLY. The Healer is scorned, persecuted, hated. The expression of gratitude may bring some of such hatred on himself. The craven is always a mean ingrate.

VI. One is CALCULATING the result of acknowledging the benefit received. Perhaps some claim may arise of discipleship, or gift.

VII. One is WORLDLY. Already he has purpose of business in Jerusalem, or plan of pleasures there, that fascinates him from returning to give thanks.

VIII. One is GREGARIOUS. He would have expressed gratitude if the other eight would, but he has no independence, no individuality.

IX. One is PROCRASTINATING. By and by. Meanwhile Christ asks, "Where are the nine?"

(Urijah R. Thomas.)

There are, speaking broadly, three chief reasons for unthankfulness on the part of man towards God. First, an indistinct idea or an under-estimate of the service that He renders us; secondly, a disposition, whether voluntary or not, to lose sight of our benefactor; thirdly, the notion that it does not matter much to Him whether we acknowledge His benefits or not. Let us take these in order.

I. There is, first of all, THE DISPOSITION TO MAKE LIGHT OF A BLESSING OR BENEFIT RECEIVED. Of this the nine lepers in the gospel could hardly have been guilty — at any rate, at the moment of their cure. To the Jews especially, as in a lesser degree to the Eastern world at large, this disease, or group of diseases, appeared in their own language to be as a living death. The nine lepers were more probably like children with a new toy, too delighted with their restored health and honour to think of the gracious friend to whom they owed it. In the case of some temporal blessings it is thus sometimes with us: the gift obscures the giver by its very wealth and profusion. But in spiritual things we are more likely to think chiefly of the gift. At bottom of their want of thankfulness there lies a radically imperfect estimate of the blessings of redemption, and until this is reversed they cannot seriously look into the face of Christ and thank Him for His inestimable love.

II. Thanklessness is due, secondly, TO LOSING SIGHT OF OUR BENEFACTOR, AND OF THIS THE NINE LEPERS WERE NO DOUBT GUILTY. Such a thanklessness as this may arise from carelessness, or it may be partly deliberate. The former was probably the case with the nine lepers. The powerful and benevolent stranger who had told them to go to the priests to be inspected had fallen already into the background of their thought, and if they reasoned upon the causes of their cure they probably thought of some natural cause, or of the inherent virtue of the Mosaic ordinances. For a sample of thanklessness arising from a careless forgetfulness o! kindness received, look at the bearing of many children in the present day towards their parents. How often in place of a loving and reverent bearing do young men and women assume with their parents a footing of perfect equality, if not of something more, as if, forsooth, they had conferred a great benefit upon their fathers and mothers by becoming their children, and giving them the opportunity of working for their support and education. This does not — I fully believe it does not — in nine cases out of ten imply a bad heart in the son or daughter. It is simply a form of that thanklessness which is due to want of reflection on the real obligations which they owe to the human authors of their life.

III. Thanklessness is due, thirdly, TO THE UTILITARIAN SPIRIT. If prayer be efficacious the use of it is obvious; but where, men ask, is the use of thankfulness? What is the good of thankfulness, they say, at any rate when addressed to such a being as God? If man does us a service and we repay him, that is intelligible: he needs our repayment. We repay him in kind if we can, or if we cannot, we repay him with our thanks, which gratify his sense of active benevolence — perhaps his lower sense of self-importance. But what benefit can God get by receiving the thanks of creatures whom He has made and whom He supports? Now, if the lepers did think thus, our Lord's remark shows that they were mistaken — not in supposing that a Divine Benefactor is not dependent for His happiness on the return which His creatures may make to Him — not in thinking that it was out of their power to make Him any adequate return at all — but at least in imagining that it was a matter of indifference to Him whether He was thanked or not. If not for His own sake, yet for theirs, He would be thanked. To thank the author of a blessing is for the receiver of the blessing to place himself voluntarily under the law of truth by acknowledging the fact that he has been blest. To do this is a matter of hard moral obligation; it is also a condition of moral force. "It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty Everlasting God." Why meet? Why right? Because it is the acknowledgment of a hard fact — the fact that all things some of God, the fact that we are utterly dependent upon Him, the fact that all existence, all life, is but an outflow of His love; because to blink this fact is to fall back into the darkness and to forfeit that strength which comes always and everywhere with the energetic acknowledgment of truth. Morally speaking, the nine lepers were not the men they would have been if, at the cost of some trouble, they had accompanied the one who, "when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, giving Him thanks."

(Canon Liddon.)


1. Here note — there are more who receive benefits than ever give praise for them. Nine persons healed, one person glorifying God; nine persons healed of leprosy, mark you, and only one person kneeling down at Jesus' feet, and thanking Him for it!

2. But there is something more remarkable than this — the number of those who pray is greater than the number of those who praise. For these ten men that were lepers all prayed. But when they came to the Te Deum, magnifying and praising God, only one of them took up the note. One would have thought that all who prayed would praise, but it is not so. Cases have been where a whole ship's crew in time of storm has prayed, and yet none of that crew have sung the praise of God when the storm has become a calm.

3. Most of us pray more than we praise. Yet prayer is not so heavenly an exercise as praise. Prayer is for time; but praise is for eternity.

4. There are more that believe than there are that praise. It is real faith, I trust — it is not for me to judge it, but it is faulty in result. So also among ourselves, there are men who get benefits from Christ, who even hope that they are saved, but they do not praise Him. Their lives are spent in examining their own skins to see whether their leprosy is gone. Their religious life reveals itself in a constant searching of themselves to see if they are really healed. This is a poor way of spending one's energies.


1. Living praise is marked by individuality.

2. Promptness. Go at once, and praise the Saviour.

3. Spirituality.

4. Intensity. "With a loud voice.

5. Humility.

6. Worship.

7. One thing more about this man I want to notice as to his thankfulness, and that is, his silence as to censuring others.When the Saviour said, "Where are the nine?" I notice that this man did not reply. But the adoring stranger did not stand up, and say, "O Lord, they are all gone off to the priests: I am astonished at them that they did not return to praise Thee!" O brothers, we have enough to do to mind our own business, when we feel the grace of God in our own hearts!

III. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THANKFULNESS. This man was more blessed by far than the nine. They were healed, but they were not blessed as he was. There is a great blessedness in thankfulness.

1. Because it is right. Should not Christ be praised?

2. It is a manifestation of personal love.

3. It has clear views.

4. It is acceptable to Christ.

5. It receives the largest blessing.In conclusion:

1. Let us learn from all this to put praise in a high place. Let us think it as great a sin to neglect praise as to restrain prayer.

2. Next, let us pay our praise to Christ Himself.

3. Lastly, if we work for Jesus, and we see converts, and they do not turn out as we expected, do not let us be cast down about it. If others do not praise our Lord, let us be sorrowful, but let us not be disappointed. The Saviour had to say, "Where are the nine?" Ten lepers were healed, but only one praised Him.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)



(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)

I. There are many men even now who, like the nine thankless lepers, have FAITH ENOUGH FOR THE HEALTH OF THE BODY, or even for all the conditions of outward comfort and success, but have not faith enough to secure the health and prosperity of the soul. That is to say, there are many who believe in so much of the will of God as can be expressed in sanitary laws and in the conditions of commercial success, but who do not believe in that Will as it is expressed in the laws and aims of the spiritual life. St. John's wish for his friend Gains (3 John 1:2) is a mystery to them; and it may be doubted whether they would care to have even St. John for a friend if he were constantly beseeching God to give them health of body only in proportion to their health of soul, and prosperity in business only in proportion to their growth in faith and righteousness and charity.

II. If we look at the case of these nine lepers a little more closely, we shall find only too much in ourselves and our neighbours TO EXPLAIN THEIR INGRATITUDE, or, at least, to make it both credible and admonitory to us.

1. They may have thought that they had done nothing to deserve their horrible fate, or nothing more than many of their neighbours, who yet passed them by as men accursed of God; and that therefore, it was only just that they should be restored to health.

2. They may have thought that they would at least make sure of their restoration to health before they gave thanks to Him who had healed them.

3. They may have put obedience before love. Yet nothing but love can save.

4. The nine were Jews, the tenth a Samaritan; and it may be that they would not go back just because he did. No sooner is the misery which had brought them together removed, than the old enmity flames out again, and the Jews take one road, the Samaritan another. When the Stuarts were on the throne, and a stedfast endeavour was made to impose the yoke of Rome on the English conscience, Churchmen and Nonconformists forgot their differences; and as they laboured in a common cause, and fought against a common foe, they confessed that they were brethren, and vowed that they would never be parted more. But when the danger was past these vows were forgotten, and once more they drew apart, and remain apart to this day.

5. Finally, the nine ungrateful, because unloving, lepers may have said within themselves, "We had better go on our way and do as we are bid, for we can be just as thankful to the kind Master in our hearts without saying so to Him; and we can thank God anywhere — thank Him just as well while we are on our way to the priests, or out here on the road and among the fields, as if we turned back. The Master has other work to do, and would not care to be troubled with our thanks; and as for God — God is everywhere, here as well as there." Now it would not become us, who also believe that God is everywhere, and that He may be most truly worshipped both in the silence of the heart and amid the noise and bustle of the world, to deny that He may be worshipped in the fair temple of nature, where all His works praise Him. It would not become us to deny even that some men may find Him in wood and field as they do not find Him in a congregation or a crowd. But, surely, it does become us to suggest to those who take this tone that, just as we ourselves love to be loved and to know that we are loved, so God loves our love to become vocal, loves that we should acknowledge our love for Him; and that, not merely because He cares for our praise, but because our love grows as we show and confess it, and because we can only become "perfect" as we become perfect in love. It surely does not become us to remind them that no man can truly love God unless he love his brother also; and that, therefore, the true lover of God should and must find in the worship of brethren whom he loves his best aid to the worship of their common Father. He who finds woods and fields more helpful to him than man is not himself fully a man; he is not perfect in the love of his brother; and is not, therefore, perfect in the love of God.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

The moment when a man gets what he wants is a testing one, it carries a trial and probation with it; or if, for the instant, his feeling is excited, the after-time is a trial. There is a sudden reversion, a reaction in the posture of his mind, when from needing something greatly, he gets it. Immediately his mind can receive thoughts which it could not entertain before; which the pressure of urgent want kept out altogether. In the first place, his benefactor is no longer necessary to him; that makes a great difference. In a certain way people's hearts are warmed by a state of vehement desire and longing, and anybody who can relieve it appears like an angel to them. But when the necessity is past, then they can judge their benefactor — if not altogether as an indifferent person, if they would feel ashamed of this — still in a way very different from what they did before. The delivery from great need of him is also the removal of a strong bias for him. Again, they can think of themselves immediately, and their rights, and what they ought to have, till even a sense of ill-usage, arises that the good conferred has been withheld so long. All this class of thoughts springs up in a man's heart as soon as he is relieved from some great want. While he was suffering the want, any supplier of it was as a messenger from heaven. Now he is only one through whom he has what rightfully belongs to him; his benefactor has been a convenience to him, but no more. The complaining spirit, or sense of grievance, which is so common in the world, is a potent obstacle to the growth of the spirit of gratitude in the heart. So long as a man thinks that every loss and misfortune he has suffered was an ill-usage, so long he will never be properly impressed by the kindness which relieves him from it. He will regard this as only a late amends made to him, and by no means a perfect one then. And this querulous temper, which chafes at all the calamities and deprivations of life, as if living under an unjust dispensation in being under the rule of Providence, is much too prevalent a one. Where it is not openly expressed it is often secretly fostered, and affects the habit of a man's mind. Men of this temper, then, are not grateful; they think of their own deserts, not of others' kindness. They are jealous of any claim on their gratitude, because, to own themselves grateful would be, they think, to acknowledge that this or that is not their right. Nor is a sullen temper the only unthankful recipient of benefits. There is a complacency resulting from too high a self-estimate, which equally prevents a man from entertaining the idea of gratitude. Those who arc possessed with the notion of their own importance take everything as if it was their due. Gratitude is essentially the characteristic of the humble-minded, of those who are not prepossessed with the notion that they deserve more than any one can give them; who are capable of regarding a service done them as a free gift, not a payment or tribute which their own claims have extorted. I will mention another failing much connected with the last-named ones, which prevents the growth of a grateful spirit. The habit of taking offence at trifles is an extreme enemy to gratitude. There is no amount of benefits received, no length of time that a person has been a benefactor, which is not forgotten in a moment by one under the influence of this habit. The slightest apparent offence, though it may succeed ever so long a course of good and kind acts from another, obliterates in a moment the kindnesses of years. The mind broods over some passing inadvertence or fancied neglect till it assumes gigantic dimensions, obscuring the past. Nothing is seen but the act which has displeased. Everything else is put aside. Again, how does the mere activity of life and business, in many people, oust almost immediately the impression of any kind service done them. They have no room in their minds for such recollections.

(Canon Mozley.)

How superior, how much stronger his delight in God's gift, to that of the other nine who slunk away. We see that he was transported, and that he was filled to overflowing with joy of heart, and that he triumphed in the sense of the Divine goodness. It was the exultation of faith; he felt there was a God in the world, and that God was good. What greater joy can be imparted to the heart of man than that which this truth, thoroughly embraced, imparts? Gratitude is thus specially a self-rewarding virtue; it makes those who have it so far happier than those who have it not. It inspires the mind with lively impressions, and when it is habitual, with an habitual cheerfulness and content, of which those who are without it have no experience or idea. Can the sullen and torpid and jealous mind have feelings at all equal to these? Can those who excuse themselves the sense of gratitude upon ever so plausible considerations, and find ever such good reasons why they never encounter an occasion which calls for the exercise of it, hope to rise to anything like this genuine height of inward happiness and exultation of spirit? They cannot; their lower nature depresses them and keeps them down; they lie under a weight which makes their hearts stagnate and spirit sink. They cannot feel true joy. They are under the dominion of vexatious and petty thoughts, which do not let them rise to any large and inspiriting view of God, or their neighbour, or themselves. They can feel, indeed, the eagerness and urgency of the wish, the longing for a deliverer when they are in grief, of a healer when they are sick; but how great the pity I how deep the perversity! that these men, as it were, can only be good when they are miserable, and can only feel when they are crushed.

(Canon Mozley.)

What then, brethren, is the conclusion from the whole subject? Why, that the man who contents himself with one act of dedication to God's service, however sincere, and there stops; one who is content with a few proofs of obedience and faith, however genuine, with a few tears of godly sorrow, however penitent — content with such things, I say, and there stops; such an one will neither have the approval of his Saviour while he lives, nor the comforts of his religion when he comes to die. Time will not allow me to enlarge on the signs of this spiritual declension, too often, it is to be feared, the forerunner of a final falling away from God. Of such perilous condition of soul, however, I could not point out a surer sign than ingratitude. Every day we live gives back to activity and life some who had been walking on the confines of the eternal world, who had well-nigh closed their account with this present scene; and here and there we behold one resolving to perform his vows, coming back to glorify God, and determined henceforth to live no more unto himself, but unto Him that died and rose again. But why are these instances of a holy dedication to God's service after a recovery from sickness so few? "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" Again, sometimes we witness .the spectacle of a highly privileged Christian family. In the life of the parents is seen a holy and consistent exhibition of Christian character; the incense of prayer and praise burns brightly and purely on the family altar, and every arrangement of the household seems designed to remind us that God is there. We look for the fruits of this. The parents are gone to rest; they are safe and happy, and at home with God; and of the children, perhaps, there are one or two that follow their steps, viewing religion as their chief concern, making the glory of God the aim of all they say or do, and the promises of God more than their necessary food. But why are the rest of the children living, as it were, on their parents' reputation, content with reaching a certain point in the Christian race, and that point not a safe one — one which leaves them to be saved only by fire, only rescued as brands from the burning — ten indeed were cleansed; "but where are the nine?" Again, we look upon an assembly of Christian worshippers. They listen with interested and sustained attention; the breath from heaven seems to inspire their worship; and wings from heaven seem to carry the message home: here and there is a heart touched, a reed bruised, a torpid conscience quickened into sensibility and life, but the others remain as before, dead to all spiritual animation, immortal statues, souls on canvas, having a name to live but are dead. Whence this difference? They confessed to the same leprosy, they cried for the same mercy, they met with the same Saviour, and were directed to the same cure, and yet how few returned to their benefactor. One, two, or three in a congregation may come and fall at the feet of Jesus, but there were thousands to be cleansed; where are the ninety times nine? But take a more particular illustration. Once a month, at least, in every church, passing before our eyes, we look upon a goodly company of worshippers; they have been bowing with reverence before the footstool of the Redeemer; they have been singing their loud anthems to the praise of the great Mediator; they have been listening to the word of life with all the earnestness of men who were ignorant, seeking knowledge; guilty, desiring pardon; hungry, wanting food; dying, imploring life; but, mark you, v/hen the invitations of the dying Saviour are recited in their ears, when the commemorative sacrifice of Christian faith and hope is offered to them, when mercy in tenderest accents proclaims to every penitent worshipper, "Come unto Me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest," then many who seemed to be in earnest are in earnest no longer; the memorials of the Saviour's death and passion are spread before them in vain, and all we can do is to look with sorrow on the retiring throng and exclaim, "There were ten that seemed to be cleansed, but where are the nine?"

(D. Moore, M. A.)

Ingratitude! — there is a fault we all of us easily recognize and heartily condemn. And even in a "matter where it would seem almost incredible, even in a matter such as that brought before us by the miracle of the ten lepers, even in the matter of recovered health, there is strange room for ingratitude. Who can believe it, even of himself? who can believe the quickness with which the memory of sickness, and of all its prayerful longings, can be wiped out of our hearts when once the tide of returning strength has swept up again into our veins? It is the natural that so beguiles us. Health is our natural condition, and there is a strange sway exercised over our imagination and our mind by all that is natural. The natural satisfies and calms us by its very regularity. Its response to our expectations seems to give it some rational validity. It is right, for it is customary; and its evenness and sequence smother all need of inquiry. It was this which bewildered us in sickness — that it had wrenched us out of our known-and habitual environment; it had thrown us into uncertainty; we could not tell what the next minute might bring; we had lost standard, and measure, and cue; we had no custom on which to rely. And then, in our distress and in our impotence, we learned how our very life hung on the breath of the Most High, in whose hands it lay to kill or to make alive; then we knew it, in that awful hour of withdrawal. But, with health, the normal solidity returns to the fabric of life; the all-familiar walls range themselves around us; the all-familiar ways stretch themselves out in front of our feet; we can be sure of to-morrow, and can count and can calculate, not because the usual is the less wonderful, hut simply because it is the usual. We move in it unalarmed, unsurprised, and God seems again to fade away. There are other matters which occupy their attention: the wonder of the feeling of new life; the sense of delicious surprise; the desire to see whether it is all true, and to experiment, and to test it. And, then, their friends are about them, their friends from whom they have been parted for so many bitter years; they are being welcomed back into the brotherhood of men, into the warmth and glow of companionship. Oh, come with us, many voices are crying; we are so glad to have you once more among us!" It is not said in the story that they did not feel grateful: grateful, no doubt, with that vague, general gratitude to God the good Father, with which we, too, pass out of the shadows of sickness into the recovered life, under the sun; among our fellows. They may well have felt genial, grateful; only they did nothing with their gratitude, only it laid no burden of duty upon them; it was not in them as a mastering compulsion which would suffer nothing to arrest its passionate will to get back to the feet of Him before whom it had once stood and cried, "Jesu, Master — for Thou alone canst — do Thou have mercy on me." "When He smote them they sought Him." It all happens, we know, over and over again with us. We are, most of us, eager to find God when we are sick, when the normal round of life deserts us, and by its desertion frightens and bewilders us; but so very few of us can retain any hold on God in health, in work, in the daily life of the natural and the constant. And by this we bring our faith under some dangerous taunts. Who does not know them? The taunt of the young and the strong: "I feel the blood running free, and my heart leaps, and my brain is alive with hope; what have you to tell me, you Christians, with your message for the sick and for the dying? I have in me powers, capacities, gifts; and before me lies an earth God given and God blessed; and you bring me the religion of the maimed, and the halt, and the blind, a religion of the outcast and the disgraced, a religion of hospitals and gaols; what is all this to me?" And the taunt of the worker: "I have will, patience, endurance, vigour; by this I can win myself bread, can build myself a house, can make my way." Those taunts are very real, and living, and pressing: how shall we face them? First, we will be perfectly clear that for no taunts from the young, the successful, and the strong, and for no demands either from the workers or the wise, can we for one moment forget or forego the memory of Him who was sent to heal the broken-hearted, and to comfort the weary and the heavy-laden; and who laid His blessing upon the poor, and the hungry, and the unhappy. No, we will withdraw nothing. But have we no living message for the strong and the young, for the happy and the wise? In what form, let us ask, ought religion to offer itself to these? Thanksgiving! That is the note of faith by which it employs and sanctifies not only the poverty and the penitence of sinners, but also the gladness of work and the glory of wisdom. And has our Christian faith, then, no voice of thanksgiving? Nay, our faith is thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! — this is our worship, and in the form of thanksgiving our religion embraces everything that life on earth can bring before it. Here is the religion of youth, the religion of all the hope that is in us. Let it, in the name of Christ, give thanks. Union with Christ empowers it to make a thank-offering of itself; to bring into its worship all its force, its hope, its youth, and its vigour. Youth and hope — they need religion just as much as weakness needs consolation, and as sin needs grace; they need it to forestall their own defeat, that they may be caught in their beauty and in their strength before they pass and perish, and so be offered as a living thank-offering; that they may be laid up as treasures, eternal in the heaven, where "rust can never bite, nor moth corrupt, nor any thieves creep in to steal." Thanksgiving! It is the religion for wealth, and for work, and for the present hour. It redeems wealth by ridding it of that terrible complacency which so stiffens and chokes the spiritual channels that, at last, it becomes easier for a camel to get through a needle's eye than for a rich man to find his way into the kingdom of heaven. And it redeems work by purging it of pride and of selfishness, and by rescuing it from dulness and harshness. And, again, it is by thanksgiving that religion closes with the natural and the normal, and the necessary. Thanksgiving asks for no change, it looks for no surprises, it takes the fact just as it stands, as law has fashioned it, and as custom has fixed it. That and no other offering is what it brings. Are you fast bound in misery and iron? Give thanks to God, and you are free. The very iron of necessity is transfigured by this strange alchemy of thanks into the gold of freedom and gladness. Nothing is impossible to the spirit of praise, nothing is so hard that Christ cannot uplift it for us before God, nothing so common that He will think it unworthy of His glory.

(Canon Scott Holland, M. A.)

"Oh," says one, "I have had so little success; I have had only one soul saved!" That is more than you deserve. If I were to fish for a week, and only catch one fish, I should be sorry; but if that happened to be a sturgeon, a royal fish, I should feel that the quality made up for lack of quantity. When you win a soul it is a great prize. One soul brought to Christ — can you estimate its value? If one be saved, you should be grateful to your Lord, and persevere. Though you wish for more conversions yet, you will not despond so long as even a few are saved; and, above all, you will not be angry if some of them do not thank you personally, nor join in Church-fellowship with you. Ingratitude is common towards soul-winners.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Ungrateful to God? I fear so; and more ungrateful, I fear, than those ten lepers. For which of the two is better off, the man who loses a good thing, and then gets it back again, or the man who never loses it at all, but enjoys it all his life? Surely the man who never loses it at all. And which of the two has more cause to thank God? Those lepers had been through a very miserable time; they had had great affliction; and that, they might feel, was a set-off against their good fortune in recovering their health. They had bad years to balance their good ones. But we — how many of us have had nothing but good years? In health, safety, and prosperity most of us grow up; forced, it is true, to work hard: but that, too, is a blessing; for what better thing for a man, soul and body, than to be forced to work hard? In health, safety, and prosperity; leaving children behind us, to prosper as we have done. And how many of us give God the glory or Christ the thanks?

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

A pious clergyman, for more than twenty years, kept an account of the sick persons he visited during that period. The parish was thickly peopled, and, of course, many of his parishioners, during his residence, were carried to their graves. A considerable number, however, recovered; and, amongst these, two thousand, who, in immediate prospect of death, gave those evidences of a change of heart, which, in the judgment of charity, were connected with everlasting salvation supposing them to have died under the circumstances referred to. As, however, the tree is best known by its fruits, the sincerity of the professed repentance was yet to be tried, and all the promises and vows thus made, to be fulfilled. Out of these two thou. sand persons (who were evidently at the point of death, and had professed true repentance) — out of these two thousand persons who recovered, two, only two; allow me to repeat it — two, only two — by their future lives, proved that their repentance was sincere, and their conversion genuine. One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight returned to their former carelessness, indifference, and sinfulness; and thus showed how little that repentance is to be depended upon, which is merely extorted by the rack of conscience and the fear of death. "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?"

Luke 17:11 NIV
Luke 17:11 NLT
Luke 17:11 ESV
Luke 17:11 NASB
Luke 17:11 KJV

Luke 17:11 Bible Apps
Luke 17:11 Parallel
Luke 17:11 Biblia Paralela
Luke 17:11 Chinese Bible
Luke 17:11 French Bible
Luke 17:11 German Bible

Luke 17:11 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Luke 17:10
Top of Page
Top of Page