After meeting the ten lepers (see Luke 17:11-19), Jesus and the apostles probably had something to eat and were far up the road beyond the village.
Suddenly they heard a racket behind them and when they looked back, they saw a man running toward them, shouting and waving his arms! One of the disciples said, "It's one of those ten lepers from the village." As he neared, they heard him shouting, "Glory to Jesus! Praise You!"
It was the Samaritan leper! When he came up to Jesus, he fell prostrate at His feet and broke out in praise and thanksgiving! Out of his innermost being poured adoration for the Son of the living God: "You're the Son of God! Glory!"
Jesus looked down at him and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?" (Luke 17:17). He was asking, "Why only you? Where are your friends, the others I healed?"
Beloved, that is the question Jesus is still asking today! Of the many multitudes He has cleansed and made whole, only a remnant are drawn back to Him! So where are all the others? They are in the same place the nine healed lepers ended up: lost in the church, swallowed up by religion.
I believe in the Bible's statistics. And if the statistic from this story in Luke's gospel is accurate, ninety percent of those who are touched by Jesus end up going back to some dead, dry church. They never get into Jesus—because they get lost in religion.
The nine lepers were anxious to get on with their lives, back to their families. They said, "I want my self-respect back. I want to go to the synagogue again and study about the coming Messiah!"
You may say, "What's wrong with all that? Isn't a man commanded to provide for his household? And doesn't David speak of meditating on the deep things of God? Aren't Christians supposed to be motivated to work diligently, to do exactly what the nine lepers did? And didn't Jesus tell them to go directly to the priest?"
Yes, that is all true—but it all becomes meaningless if you do not first get to know Jesus!