The faith of the centurion (Lk 7:9-7:9)

“When Jesus heard this.

He was amazed at him.

He turned

To the crowd

That followed him.

He said.

‘I tell you!

Not even in Israel

Have I found such faith.’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ταῦτα ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν αὐτόν, καὶ στραφεὶς τῷ ἀκολουθοῦντι αὐτῷ ὄχλῳ εἶπεν Λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον.

 

Luke said that when Jesus heard all this (ἀκούσας δὲ ταῦτα ὁ Ἰησοῦς), he was amazed or marveled at him (ἐθαύμασεν αὐτόν).  He turned to the crowd that followed him (καὶ στραφεὶς τῷ ἀκολουθοῦντι αὐτῷ ὄχλῳ).  He said (εἶπεν) with a solemn pronouncement (Λέγω ὑμῖν) that he had not found any such great faith in Israel (οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον).  This response of Jesus to the centurion was exactly the same as in Matthew, chapter 8:10, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Matthew said that when Jesus heard the response of this centurion, he marveled, wondered, admired, or was amazed.  He then turned to speak to his followers with a solemn pronouncement.  He had not found anyone in Israel with so great of faith like this Roman, non-Jewish, centurion.  His great belief, faith, and trust in the power of Jesus would be demanded of all the Jesus followers.  Do you have faith like this Roman centurion?

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The great faith of the centurion (Mt 8:10-8:10)

“When Jesus heard

The centurion,

He was amazed.

He said to those

Who followed him.

‘Truly,

I say to you!

In no one in Israel

Have I found

Such a great faith.’”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, παρ’ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον.

 

This response of Jesus to the centurion was exactly the same as in Luke, chapter 7:9, perhaps indicating a Q source.  When Jesus heard the response (ἀκούσας δὲ) of this centurion, he marveled, wondered, admired, or was amazed (ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν).  He then turned to speak to his followers (καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν) with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He had not found anyone in Israel with so great of faith (παρ’ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον) like this Roman, non-Jewish, centurion.  His great belief, faith, and trust in the power of Jesus would be demanded of all the Jesus followers.

Physicians (Sir 38:1-38:8)

“Honor physicians

For their services!

The Lord created them.

Their gift of healing

Comes from the Most High.

They are rewarded by the king.

The skill of the physicians

Makes them distinguished.

In the presence of the great men,

They are admired.

The Lord created medicines

Out of the earth.

The sensible ones

Will not despise them.

Was not water made sweet

With a tree?

Thus its power might be known.

He gave skill to human beings.

Thus he might be glorified

In his marvelous works.

By them,

The physician heals.

He takes away pain.

The pharmacist makes a mixture

From them.

God’s works

Will never be finished.

From him,

Health spreads over all the earth.”

Were physicians thought of as witch doctors or a kind of false idol worship? Sirach has a strong defense of these physicians. They are actually continuing the creative work of the Most High God with his gift of healing to the people. These distinguished and admired medical doctors are honored by kings because of their skills. The Lord has created healing medicines from the earth. Do not despise their human skills that heal and take away pain. The pharmacists make these mixtures to help the work of God, whose work is never finished. Thus health will spread over all the earth. Sirach has a definite pro-physician and pro-pharmacist attitude, unlike some Christian Scientists who are against medical doctors.

Esther becomes the new queen (Esth 2:15-2:18)

“When the turn came for Esther daughter of Abihail, the uncle of Mordecai who had adopted her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was admired by all as she found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. When Esther was taken to King Artaxerxes into his royal palace in the twelfth month, which is Adar, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won his favor and grace over all the virgins. He set the royal diadem crown on her head as she became queen. Then the king gave a great banquet to all his friends and officials lasting seven days to celebrate his marriage to Esther. He also granted a holiday remission of taxes to all the provinces under his rule. He gave gifts with royal liberality.”

Esther finally got her turn to audition with the king. She simply followed the advice of the eunuch Hegai. This was now the 7th year of the king’s rule, around 458 BCE. The original feast where the argument took place about Queen Vashti was in the 3rd year of his rule. Now after 4 years, Vashti was gone, without any mention of what happened to her. Now King Artaxerxes was smitten with Esther as he said that she was the one, since he loved her more than all the others. He immediately gave her the crown as she became Queen Esther. He gave a big wedding banquet in Esther’s honor. He also gave a tax holiday. Now that is a real holiday. He also gave gifts, which seems the opposite of most weddings where the bride and groom get the gifts. There is no specific mention of a wedding ceremony, but it might be presumed if they had a wedding banquet. There seems to be no problem about a Jewish woman marrying a non-Jewish person as there was in Ezra, chapters 9-10, and Nehemiah, chapter 10, which would have been about the same time frame. That prohibition was more about Jewish men marrying non-Jewish women.

The beautiful Judith stuns the whole Assyrian camp (Jdt 10:18-10:19)

“There was great excitement in the whole camp. Her arrival was reported from tent to tent. They came and gathered around her as she stood outside the tent of General Holofernes. She waited until they told him about her. They marveled at her beauty. They admired the Israelites, judging them by her. They said to one another.

‘Who can despise these people?

Who have women like this among them?

It is not wise to leave one of their men alive.

If we let them go,

They will be able to beguile the whole world!’”

Judith was like a USO star arriving at an army camp. Everyone wanted to see her. The news spread quickly as they gathered around her as she waited outside the general’s tent. They all marveled at her beauty. With women this good looking, they wanted to kill all the Israelite men. She appeared to be too beguiling, and in fact, she was.