Luke 17:11-19

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

The story of the ten lepers or the story of the one Samaritan leper who came back has a very distinctive sound map. The first part of the story is quite demonstrative and loud: "They called out to Jesus from a distance: 'Lord, master, Jesus! Have mercy on us!'" Jesus called back to them: 'Go and show yourself to the priest!'" The first part of the story communicates the distance between Jesus and the lepers by the quality of the sound. It's loud shouting.

The second part of the story is much more intimate. The Samaritan comes and falls at Jesus' feet. Jesus talks to him up close and personal. It is quiet, intimate and direct speech.

A short sentence in this story is, "As they went to show themselves to the priest, they were made clean." This is said slowly. It is the occasion of the miracle of healing. It is an opportunity to describe in tone as well as content the incredible thing that happened: "As they went, they were made clean!" Gestures of looking at your hands with amazement are appropriate.

When the Samaritan leper comes back he is praising God with a loud voice, as stated in the story. This is an indication of the volume with which this indirect discourse is to be told, so it too is loud. The other thing to notice about the sound characteristics of the story is that the sentence, "Now he was a Samaritan," is the shortest sentence in the story. This sentence gives the storyteller an opportunity to communicate to the audience the surprise that the man is a foreigner, a Samaritan.

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