Ten lepers (Lk 17:12-17:12)

“As Jesus

Entered a village,

Ten lepers

Approached him.

They kept

Their distance.”

 

καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες, οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers, although Luke had Jesus cure a leper earlier in chapter 5:12-16, that can be found in the other synoptics, Matthew, chapter 8:1-4, and Mark, chapter 1:40-45.  Luke indicated that Jesus entered a village (καὶ εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην), where 10 lepers approached or met him (ἀπήντησαν δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες).  However, these lepers kept their distance (οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν).  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.  Thus, there were spiritual, physical, social, and religious implications with being a leper.  Here there were 10 lepers in this village, so that they might have been a small leper colony.  They approached Jesus, but kept their appropriate distance from him, since they were quarantined from being with other non-leper people.  Have you ever met a leper?

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I do not know you (Lk 13:27-13:27)

“But he will say.

‘I tell you!

I do not know

Where you come from.

Go away

From me!

All you evildoers!’”

 

καὶ ἐρεῖ λέγων ὑμῖν Οὐκ οἶδα πόθεν ἐστέ· ἀπόστητε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ πάντες ἐργάται ἀδικίας.

 

Luke continued with the response of Jesus with a solemn pronouncement (καὶ ἐρεῖ λέγων ὑμῖν) that he did not know where they came from (Οὐκ οἶδα πόθεν ἐστέ).  They were to go away from him (ἀπόστητε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ), since they were all evildoers, workers of evil (πάντες ἐργάται ἀδικίας).  This verse is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 7:23, from the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps a Q source.  Jesus was going to declare to them that he never knew them, because they were evildoers.  Just as David had told the evildoers to depart in Psalm 6:13, Jesus wanted these evildoers to leave him alone.  Who were these evil doers?  They seem like friendly disciples of Jesus.  What evil had they done to make them unworthy on the final judgment day?  The answer was not clear.  Would you consider yourself an evil doer?

Proclaim Jesus in your home area (Lk 8:39-8:39)

“Jesus said.

‘Return to your home!

Declare

How much

God has done

For you!’

Thus,

He went away,

Proclaiming

Throughout the whole city

How much

Jesus had done

For him.”

 

Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου, καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told the former demoniac to return to his home (Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου).  There he was to declare how much God had done for him (καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ Θεός).  Thus, he went away (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν), proclaiming throughout the whole city (καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων) how much Jesus had done for him (ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς).  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 5:19-20, while there is nothing like this in MatthewMark said that Jesus refused this former demoniac’s request.  Jesus would not permit him to go with them.  However, Jesus told him to go to his own home.  There he was to preach, announce, or tell others how much the Lord (ὁ Κύριός) had done for him with his great mercy.  This former demoniac went away.  He then began to preach or proclaim in the Decapolis area how much Jesus had done for him.  Thus, everyone there was amazed or marveled at this.  The Decapolis territory was a group of 10 gentile non-Jewish cities on the east bank of the Jordan River in present day Jordan and Syria that included the towns of Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus.  Thus, this cured demoniac was the first Christian apostle to the gentiles, a foreign missionary rather than a close disciple or apostle.  Would you rather be a missionary for Jesus or one who followed him closely?

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.

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.

James and John on either side of Jesus (Mt 20:21-20:21)

Jesus said to her.

‘What do you want?’

She said to him.

‘Declare

That these two sons of mine

Will sit,

One at your right hand

And one at your left hand,

In your kingdom.’”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Τί θέλεις; λέγει αὐτῷ Εἰπὲ ἵνα καθίσωσιν οὗτοι οἱ δύο υἱοί μου εἷς ἐκ δεξιῶν καὶ εἷς ἐξ εὐωνύμων σου ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:36-37, but there the brothers, rather than their mother spoke with Jesus.  Jesus then asked her what did she want or wish (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Τί θέλεις)?  She said to him (λέγει αὐτῷ) that she wanted Jesus to declare or command that her two sons (Εἰπὲ ἵνα καθίσωσιν οὗτοι οἱ δύο υἱοί μου) would sit at the right hand (εἷς ἐκ δεξιῶν) and at the left hand (καὶ εἷς ἐξ εὐωνύμων σου) of Jesus in his kingdom (ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου).  After all, they had been with Peter at the transfiguration and were one of the four original disciples.  Thus, they were already very special.  Perhaps, she thought of this as an earthly kingdom.  Strangely enough at the crucifixion of Jesus, it would be two thieves on his right and left side.

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.