Luke 17:11–19 and Waldenström’s Commentary
Gospel Lesson for the 21st Sunday After Pentecost
[Editor’s note: Dr. Paul Peter Waldenström based his comments on a Greek New Testament text which he translated into Swedish. Tommy Carlson has translated both the Biblical text and Waldenström’s comments from the Swedish text, Second Edition, 1892.]
Verse 11—And1 it happened when he walked to Jerusalem,2 he3 walked right between4 Samaria and Galilee.
- The following story appears only in Luke.
- Here Luke describes the Lord’s last departure from Galilee in order to go to Jerusalem. Compare chapter 9:51 and 13:22.
- Luke says HE HIMSELF as opposed to other festival travellers. The Lord travelled, irrespective of them, his own way. The Galileans’ usual way to Jerusalem, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, went right through Samaria.
- The word in the original text can also mean RIGHT THROUGH. But, if this was the meaning, it should say: RIGHT THROUGH GALILEE AND SAMARIA. Now, however, Samaria is named first and the road to Jerusalem did not first go through Samaria and then Galilee. For that reason, the evangelist’s words must be translated RIGHT BETWEEN. They show that Jesus followed the border between Samaria and Galilee from west to east. When he came to the river Jordan, he crossed over and walked south through Pereen until he came approximately even with Jericho. There he crossed the Jordan again and walked through Jericho to Jerusalem.
Verse 12—And when he came into1 a certain village, there met him ten2 lepers who stood3 at a distance4
- The lepers kept themselves outside the village, and the Lord met them just as he was about to enter the village.
- Among them, at least one was a Samaritan. Healthy (clean) Jesus and Samaritans could not be together, but for lepers it was all right because lepers were unclean.
- According to another reading, “who rose up.” If this reading is correct, one has to believe that the lepers were lying on the ground but rose when they saw Jesus.
- It was prohibited for lepers to approach others. (Leviticus 13:46 and Numbers 5:12f.)
Verse 13—and they began to raise their voices saying; “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
Verse 14—And when he saw1 them, he said to them: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”2 And it happened while they walked that they were cleansed.3 (Luke 5:14)
- His notice of them was realized by their cry.
- This is in other words said: Be clean! Those who have been cleansed from leprosy should, according to the laws of Moses, go and show themselves to the priest in order to be declared clean by him (Leviticus 14:2f).
- That they believed the Lord is shown by the fact that they, by his word, left. And, during the walk they were cleansed through their faith.
Verse 15—But only one of them, when he saw that his faith had cleansed him, came again with a loud voice praising God,
Verse 16—and he fell on (his)face at his feet thanking him. And he was1 a Samaritan.
- As opposed to the other nine who were Jews.
Verse 17—But Jesus answered and said: “Were not ten cleansed? The nine, where (are they)?
Verse 18—Could they not find themselves to come again to praise God1 but just this stranger?2
- It was God, through Jesus, who had done the faith healing. See John 5:19. In that the man healed by faith thanked Jesus (v. 16), he also thanked God.
- Samaritans in comparison to Jews were strangers. See II Kings 17:24 and Matthew 10:5. But even if he was a Samaritan, Jesus found in him more good than in the others from whom he expected more. Compare Matthew 8:11 and 15:28 where the Lord finds bigger faith among heathens than he has found in Israel. But the nine were probably convinced by the priest not to seek any further contact with Jesus. For an example of priestly convincing in a similar way, see John 9:24f.
Verse 19—And he said to him: “Stand up and go. Your faith1 has saved you.
- And wherein was his faith? Answer: only in that he had placed his trust in Jesus about whom he had heard that he was a compassionate master. This is the essence of faith.