Jesus cures the leprosy (Lk 5:13-5:13)

“Then Jesus

Stretched out

His hand.

He touched

The leper.

He said.

‘I do choose!

Be made clean!’

Immediately,

The leprosy

Left him.”

 

καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἥψατο αὐτοῦ λέγων Θέλω, καθαρίσθητι· καὶ εὐθέως ἡ λέπρα ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ.

 

Luke said that Jesus stretched out his hand (καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα).  He touched the leper (ἥψατο αὐτοῦ).  He said that he had chosen (λέγων Θέλω) to make him clean (καθαρίσθητι).  Immediately (καὶ εὐθέως), the leprosy left or went out of him (ἡ λέπρα ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).  This leper healing story can also be found in Mark, chapter 1:42, and Matthew, chapter 8:3.  Mark said that Jesus was moved with pity or compassion, which was not mentioned here in Luke.  However, the healing was the same.  Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper, since it was not against Jewish law to touch a leper.  Then Jesus said that he wanted to cleanse the leper.  Immediately, the leprosy went away, exactly the same as here.  This leper became clean.  Thus, there was a prophetic cleansing of a leper, because Jesus had this healing touch.

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The man with leprosy (Lk 5:12-5:12)

“Once,

When Jesus was

In one of the cities,

There was a man

Covered with leprosy.

When he saw Jesus,

He bowed

With his face

To the ground.

He begged Jesus.

‘Lord!

If you choose,

You can make me clean.’”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ πλήρης λέπρας· ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν, πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ λέγων Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς, δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

 

Luke said that Jesus was in one of the cities (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεων), but without naming it.  There was a man there fully covered with leprosy (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ πλήρης λέπρας).  When he saw Jesus (ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν), he bowed with his face to the ground (πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐδεήθη αὐτοῦ).  He implored Jesus, calling him Lord (λέγων Κύριε).  He said that if Jesus would choose (ἐὰν θέλῃς) to help him, he had the power to make him clean (δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι).  This was similar Matthew, chapter 8:2, and Mark, chapter 1:40.  However, here the man was fully covered with leprosy, but the request was the same.  Mark, like Matthew said that a leper was begging Jesus, as he knelt before him.  Then he said that if Jesus wanted to, he could make him clean.  This leper was asking Jesus to make him clean, so that he could join normal Jewish society again.  He knew that Jesus had the power to do this, since many prophets had cured lepers.  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λέπρας” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a Jewish religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean, with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, they were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.

Jesus cures the leper (Mk 1:41-1:42)

“Moved with pity,

Jesus stretched out

His hand.

He touched him.

He said to him.

‘I do choose!

Be made clean!’

Immediately,

The leprosy

Left him.

He was made clean.”

 

καὶ σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ ἥψατο καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Θέλω, καθαρίσθητι.

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα, καὶ ἐκαθερίσθη.

 

Luke, chapter 5:13, has something similar, but there was no mention of pity in Luke or the similar story in Matthew, chapter 8:3.  Mark said that Jesus was moved with pity or compassion (καὶ σπλαγχνισθεὶς).  Jesus stretched out his hand (ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ) and touched the leper (ἥψατο), since it was not against Jewish law to touch a leper.  Then he said that he willed or wanted (λέγων αὐτῷ Θέλω) to cleanse the leper (καθαρίσθητι).  Immediately (καὶ εὐθὺς), the leprosy went away (ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα).  This leper became clean (καὶ ἐκαθερίσθη), so that there was a prophetic cleansing of a leper, because Jesus had this healing touch.

A leper wanted to be clean (Mk 1:40-1:40)

“A leper

Came to Jesus.

Begging,

And kneeling,

He said to Jesus.

‘If you choose,

You can make me

Clean.’”

 

Καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτὸν λεπρὸς παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν καὶ γονυπετῶν λέγων αὐτῷ ὅτι Ἐὰν θέλῃς δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

 

Luke, chapter 5:12, has something similar, but the man was covered with leprosy.  However, the request was the same as here.  Matthew, chapter 8:2, was closer to Mark here, almost word for word, indicating that Mark might be the source.  However, Matthew had the leper call Jesus “Lord”.  Mark, like Matthew said that a leper came to Jesus (Καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτὸν λεπρὸς).  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λεπρὸς” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a Levitical priest could declare a person clean with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, you were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.  This leper was begging or imploring Jesus (παρακαλῶν αὐτὸν) as he knelt (καὶ γονυπετῶν) before him as to offer obedience to him.  Then he said (λέγων αὐτῷ) that if Jesus wanted to (ὅτι Ἐὰν θέλῃς), he could make him clean (δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι).  This leper was asking Jesus to make him clean, so that he could join normal Jewish society again.

Generosity versus fairness (Mt 20:13-20:15)

“But the landowner replied

To one of them.

‘Friend!

I am doing you no wrong!

Did you not agree

With me

For a denarius?

Take what belongs to you!

Go!

I choose to give

To this last

The same

As I give to you.

Am I not allowed to do

What I choose

With what belongs to me?

Or are you envious

Because I am generous?’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ἑνὶ αὐτῶν εἶπεν Ἑταῖρε, οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε· οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι;

ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε· θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί·

οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς; ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι;

 

This parable is unique to Matthew, as Jesus concluded this parable.  The landowner replied to one of them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ἑνὶ αὐτῶν) with a sarcastic greeting of companion or friend (εἶπεν Ἑταῖρε).  He had done nothing wrong to them (οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε).  They had agreed to the one denarius pay for a day’s work (οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι).  They should just take their money and go (ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε).  If the landowner was generous that was not the problem of this day laborer.  He could give to the last hired what he gave to the first hired (θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί).  Was he not allowed (οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι) to do whatever he wanted to do with his own belongings (ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς).  Were they envious with an evil eye (ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν) because he was generous (ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι)?  In fact, they did not mind generosity.  They just wanted to know why none of that generosity came their way.  That is the problem with generosity.  The person who worked hard for a fair payment sometimes resents the generosity towards those who did not do as much work.  Why was the hard worker for the whole day not compensated more generously than the one-hour worker?  There are always two sides to every story.

The relationship of the Father and the Son (Mt 11:26-11:27)

“Yes!

Father!

Such was

Your gracious will.

All things

Have been handed over

To me,

By my Father.

No one knows

The Son,

Except the Father.

No one knows

The Father,

Except the Son,

And anyone to whom

The Son chooses

To reveal him.”

 

ναί, ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου

Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐπιγινώσκει τὸν Υἱὸν εἰ μὴ ὁ Πατήρ, οὐδὲ τὸν Πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ Υἱὸς καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ Υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι.

 

Matthew has Jesus explain his relationship to the Father in heaven.  Luke, chapter 10:22, has a similar statement, almost word for word, indicating a possible common Q source.  This is one of the few times that the synoptic gospels present Jesus with a clear knowledge of his relationship to the heavenly Father, as the Son.  The Father was well pleased to let this be known and happen because it was his will to do so (ναί, ὁ Πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου).  The Father has handed over everything to his Son (Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου). This is a profound theological statement indicating that the divine affiliation is very clear.  Jesus is the Son of the Father.  Only he and the Father know this.  No one really knows the Son, except the Father (Πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρός μου).  The opposite is also true.   No one really knows the Father, except the Son (οὐδὲ τὸν Πατέρα τις ἐπιγινώσκει εἰ μὴ ὁ Υἱὸς).  However, Jesus, the Son, may decide or choose to tell or reveal this to others (καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ Υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι).  This is the gist of the gospel stories.  Jesus wanted to reveal his relationship to the Father to all his followers.

 

The leper (Mt 8:2-8:2)

“There was a leper

Who came to Jesus.

He knelt before him.

Saying.

‘Lord!

If you choose,

You can make me clean.’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ λεπρὸς προσελθὼν προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγων Κύριε, ἐὰν θέλῃς δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι.

 

This leper story can be found in Luke, chapter 5:12, and Mark, chapter 1:40, perhaps indicating Mark as the source, since Matthew was closer to Mark.  A leper came to Jesus (καὶ ἰδοὺ λεπρὸς προσελθὼν).  Leprosy was some kind of skin disease that was usually found among poor people.  Today, there are about 2,000,000 people with leprosy or Hansen’s disease, mostly in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.  The Greek word “λεπρὸς” used here is a broader definition of leprosy than just Hansen’s disease.  Leprosy was a religious problem also.  What to do about it was clearly defined in Leviticus, chapters 13-14.  Leprosy in the wide sense was considered unclean and had religious connotations, since only a priest could declare a person clean with a distinct ritual for cleansing the leper.  As a leper, you were considered unclean and not fit to live in normal communal life.  This leper then knelt down before Jesus as to offer obedience to him (προσεκύνει αὐτῷ).  Then he spoke to Jesus, calling him Lord (λέγων Κύριε).  Then the leper asked Jesus to cure him if he wanted to (ἐὰν θέλῃς).  He knew that Jesus had the power to do this, since many prophets had cured lepers.  The leper was asking Jesus to perform as a prophet and make him clean (δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι), so that he could join normal Jewish society again.