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Where Are the Nine?

Luke 17:11-19; The Desire of Ages, pp. 262–266, 348


The Message

We worship God when we thank Him.

Memory Verse

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:2, 3).

Have you had chicken pox? If so, you probably had to stay home from school for a long while. If you had gone to school some other children might have caught the disease from you. That’s because chicken pox is contagious—people can easily catch it. In today’s lesson we will read about 10 men who had a contagious disease.


One day Jesus and the disciples were walking to Jerusalem. They traveled a road on the border between Galilee and Samaria. Just as they were entering a village, 10 men called, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus looked around. He saw lepers’ shacks built outside the village. He saw men dressed in ragged clothing. He saw bandages wound around their feet and hands. Instantly Jesus knew that these men were lepers.

Jesus felt very sad when He saw the lepers. He knew how much they wanted to be well again.

Long before Jesus lived on earth, Moses had given some rules about leprosy: when the first sores of leprosy appeared on a leper’s skin, he or she had to show them to the priest. The priest would look very closely at the sores and then send the person away. After a set time, the leper returned to the priest. If the sores had not healed, the priest would say the person was unclean because he or she had leprosy.

Lepers had to live outside the village. They were not allowed to return to their families unless the sores healed. And though lepers hoped and hoped, leprosy did not heal.

Nine of these lepers were Jews and one was a Samaritan. They had heard of Jesus. They held their arms out to Jesus and begged Him to help them.

“Go, show yourselves to the priests,” Jesus called.

For just a moment the lepers may have been disappointed. But then they understood. They knew why Jesus was sending them to the priest.

The lepers knew they would have to show themselves to a priest. If the priest said they were healed, everyone else would welcome them back into the village. They could go home and live with their families again.

“What are we waiting for?” they probably asked as they hurried to find the priest. As they ran, the feeling returned to their feet and hands. The sores went away. They were truly healed!

As much as the Samaritan wanted to reach the priest with the others, he stopped. He turned around and ran back to Jesus. Praising and thanking God, the man fell at Jesus’ feet.

“Thank You,” he may have whispered. Then, louder, “Thank You, Thank You. Thank You!”

Jesus’ eyes sparkled. So few people He helped were truly thankful.

He looked down the road at the nine Jews hurrying on their way.

“Were not 10 lepers cleansed?” Jesus sadly asked. “Where are the other nine? Is the Samaritan the only one who will thank and praise God?”

Then Jesus turned to the Samaritan and said, “Get up and go. Because of your great faith, you have been made well.” Joy filled the man’s heart. With a thankful heart, he worshipped God.