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More Hints from Luke’s Gospel to Christ’s Divine Identity

Jesus as the Object of Divine Worship

Sam Shamoun

The Gospel of Luke records an incident where the Lord Jesus healed 10 men who had a serious skin disease, perhaps even leprosy. In that account Luke provides his readers with a glimpse of the divine worship which Jesus rightly deserves, and must receive, by virtue of his unique divine status and relation to the Father:

“While traveling to Jerusalem, He passed between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, 10 men with serious skin diseases met Him. They stood at a distance and raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He told them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And while they were going, they were healed. But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown AT HIS FEET, thanking Him (euchariston auto). And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said, ‘Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine? Didn’t any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He told him, ‘Get up and go on your way. Your faith has made you well.’” Luke 17:11-18

The Greek word translated as “thanking” is consistently used in reference to the thanksgiving or praise which is offered to God, with the only exception being Romans 16:4, just as the following examples demonstrate:

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: “God, I thank You (eucharisto soi) that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, “God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!” I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’” Luke 18:9-14

“Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks (eucharistesas), He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And He took bread, gave thanks (eucharistesas), broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.’” Luke 22:17-20

“After he said these things and had taken some bread, he gave thanks to God (eucharistesen to theo) in the presence of all of them, and when he broke it, he began to eat.” Acts 27:35

“Now the believers from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God (eucharistesas to theo) and took courage.” Acts 28:15

Other examples include:

We always thank God (Eucharistoumen to theo) for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2

Give thanks (eucharisteite) in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

And here are some texts where Christians are exhorted to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God through him, something which Paul himself was keen to do:

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ (eucharisto to theo mou dia 'Iesou Christou) for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world.” Romans 1:8

“And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always (eucharistountes pantote) for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-20

According to these verses, not only are believers expected to always give thanks to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are also commanded to fear and sing to Christ in their corporate worship!


“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father (eucharistountes to theo patri) through Him.” Colossians 3:17

That the thanksgiving which Jesus received is similar to that which is offered to God is easily proven by the following considerations. First, the miraculous healing of infectious skin diseases such as leprosy is a divine work which no human prophet had ever done prior to the time of Christ.

Even in the case of Elisha when the Syrian general who had come to him to be healed of his skin disease, it wasn’t the prophet who performed the miracle, but God himself did as the context itself shows:

“When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel tore his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, ‘Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.’ But Naaman got angry and left, saying, ‘I was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and will wave his hand over the spot and cure the skin disease. Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and left in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he tells you, “Wash and be clean”?’ So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.” 2 Kings 5:8-13

Notice that Elisha didn’t even come out to personally meet with Naaman, presumably because he didn’t want to be given credit for Naaman’s healing. Elisha did this so that God alone would be glorified through an act which, as the king of Israel himself noted, Yahweh alone is able to perform:

“Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a great man in his master’s sight and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a brave warrior, but he had a skin disease. Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would go to the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.’ So Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. Therefore, the king of Aram said, ‘Go and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.’ So he went and took with him 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and 10 changes of clothes. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read: When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.’ When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and asked,Am I God, killing and giving life that this man expects me to cure a man of his skin disease? Think it over and you will see that he is only picking a fight with me.’” 2 Kings 5:1-7

As a result of this miraculous cleansing, Naaman came to realize that Yahweh is the only God in all the earth:

“Then Naaman and his whole company went back to the man of God, stood before him, and declared, ‘I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel. Therefore, please accept a gift from your servant.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, I stand before Him. I will not accept it.’ Naaman urged him to accept it, but he refused. Naaman responded, ‘If not, please let your servant be given as much soil as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other god but Yahweh. However, in a particular matter may the Lord pardon your servant: When my master, the king of Aram, goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship and I, as his right-hand man, bow in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant in this matter. So he said to him, ‘Go in peace.’” 2 Kings 5:15-19

Other examples which show that this is a divine function carried out by Yahweh alone include the following:

“In addition the Lord said to him, ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’ So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, white as snow. Then He said, ‘Put your hand back inside your cloak.’ He put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, it had again become like the rest of his skin.” Exodus 4:6-7

“As the cloud moved away from the tent, Miriam’s skin suddenly became diseased, as white as snow. When Aaron turned toward her, he saw that she was diseased and said to Moses, ‘My lord, please don’t hold against us this sin we have so foolishly committed. Please don’t let her be like a dead baby whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.’ Then Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘GOD, PLEASE HEAL HER!’ The Lord answered Moses, ‘If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she remain in disgrace for seven days? Let her be confined outside the camp for seven days; after that she may be brought back in.’ So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was brought back in. After that, the people set out from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran.” Numbers 12:10-16

In these texts, we not only have further evidence that Yahweh is the One who heals infectious skin diseases, we also see that he is even capable of inflicting such diseases on people!

And the incident with Miriam shows that not even Moses was able to heal such diseases since this is a work which Yahweh alone carries out, which is why Moses had to cry out to God and beg him to heal his sister.

Yet, in the case of Christ, it was he himself who enacted the cleansing by the power which he intrinsically possesses by virtue of being the unique divine Son of God,

“They came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those tormented by unclean spirits were made well. The whole crowd was trying to touch Him, because power WAS COMING OUT FROM HIM and healing them all.” Luke 6:18-19

“While He was going, the crowds were nearly crushing Him. A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years, who had spent all she had on doctors yet could not be healed by any, approached from behind and touched the tassel of His robe. Instantly her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds are hemming You in and pressing against You.’ Someone did touch Me,’ said Jesus. ‘I know that power HAS GONE OUT FROM ME.’” Luke 8:42b-46

“Summoning the Twelve, He GAVE THEM power and authority over all the demons, and power to heal diseases. Then He sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick… John responded, ‘Master, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us.’ ‘Don’t stop him,’ Jesus told him, ‘because whoever is not against you is for you.’” Luke 9:1-2, 49-50

Just as both the immediate context of Luke 17, and the following passage affirm:

“While He was in one of the towns, a man was there who had a serious skin disease all over him. He saw Jesus, FELL FACEDOWN, and begged Him: ‘Lord, if You are willing, YOU CAN MAKE ME CLEAN.’ Reaching out His hand, HE TOUCHED HIM, saying, ‘I am willing; be made clean,’ and immediately the disease left him. Then He ordered him to tell no one: ‘But go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansing as a testimony to them.’ But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed. On one of those days while He was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem. And the Lord’s power to heal was IN HIM.” Luke 5:12-17

Second, the Samaritan who was miraculously cleansed didn’t simply thank Jesus, but actually fell facedown at the feet of Christ, an explicit act of worship.

Third, in this very same chapter Jesus goes on to identify himself as the Son of Man who suffers and shall appear again:

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God will come, He answered them, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, “Look here!” or “There!” For you see, the kingdom of God is among you.’ Then He told the disciples: ‘The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you won’t see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Don’t follow or run after them. For as the lightning flashes from horizon to horizon and lights up the sky, so the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: People went on eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: People went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.’” Luke 17:20-30

This is quite significant since Christ is identifying himself as the divine figure whom the prophet Daniel saw, the One whom all the nations must worship and who rules over them forever:

“I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him. He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

This isn’t the only time where Jesus referred to himself as the figure whom Daniel wrote of:

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and that of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

“Then He took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that is written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For HE will be handed over to the Gentiles, and HE will be mocked, insulted, spit on; and after they flog HIM, they will kill HIM, and HE will rise on the third day.’” Luke 18:31-33

“Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves. People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the celestial powers will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!... But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.’” Luke 21:25-27, 36

“While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’… At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. ‘If you are the Messiah,’ they said, ‘tell us.’ Jesus answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.’” Luke 22:47-48, 66-69

Thus, by making himself to be this particular Son of Man, Jesus was basically claiming to be a divine Ruler, the King of God’s kingdom, and the One who shall be worshiped forever by all the inhabitants of the earth.

In fact, Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, worships Christ in the same context where he is given a vision of heaven, right as he is about to be martyred, and sees Christ standing at God’s right hand as the Son of Man:

"But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ Then they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him. They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They were stoning Stephen as he called out: ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin!’ And saying this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:55-60

Interestingly, Stephen prays to Christ in the same way that the OT saints prayed to Yahweh God!

Into Your hand I entrust my spirit; You redeem me, Lord, God of truth.” Psalm 31:5

It is, therefore, clear that by identifying Christ as the Son of Man, Luke is drawing his readers attention to the fact that Jesus is the divine King whom all the nations must worship since this is God’s express will. As such, the thanks that the Samaritan gave to Jesus is obviously meant to anticipate or foreshadow the praise and glory which Christ shall eventually receive from his subjects.

This leads us to our fourth point. As the text itself demonstrates, by falling at Jesus’ feet in thankfulness, the man was actually glorifying God:

“But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown at His feet, thanking Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said, ‘Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine? Didn’t any RETURN to give glory to God except this foreigner?’” Luke 18:15-18

Pay attention to Jesus’ words carefully. It didn’t matter if the nine had all gone to the temple to praise God and offer the sacrifices commanded by Moses, as an expression of their thankfulness to Yahweh for the miraculous cleansing. By not returning to thank Christ personally, like the Samaritan did, these others failed to glorify God properly.

Jesus’ point here is crystal clear. To praise and thank him is to glorify God, which shows that the worship of God is inextricably linked to, and even bound up with, the worship given to the Son. Jesus is basically saying that one must worship the Son in order to glorify God, otherwise anyone who refuses to praise and honor God’s Son ends up worshiping in vain. As Jesus in John explains:

“The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22-23

Or as the Apostle Paul puts it:

“For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Hence, to thank Christ is to thank God, to praise Christ is to praise God, to worship Christ is to worship God, to love Christ is to love God etc., since Jesus is God in the flesh!

Now won’t you join us in thanking the Lord Jesus, like the Samaritan did, for healing us from our spiritual disease of sin in order that we might live forever in his infinitely glorious, loving and compassionate presence?

Amen! Come Lord Jesus, come! We thank and praise you for loving us so much to save us so that we can dwell in your majestic and holy presence forever and ever. We love and adore you, O Risen Lord and radiant Son of God. Amen!