Faith (Lk 17:19-17:19)

“Jesus said to him.

‘Get up!

Go on your way!

Your faith

Has made you well!’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἀναστὰς πορεύου· ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε.

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that Jesus said to this cured Samaritan leper (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he was to get up (Ἀναστὰς) and go on his way (πορεύου), because his faith has made him well or saved him (ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε).  Actually, he had been cured earlier with the other 9 lepers.  However, this is a further emphasis on faith as an ingredient in the healing process.  How do you connect faith and healing?

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Have mercy! (Lk 17:13-17:13)

“The lepers

Called out,

Saying.

‘Jesus!

Master!

Have mercy

On us!’”

 

καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες Ἰησοῦ Ἐπιστάτα, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that the lepers cried out (καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες), calling Jesus “Master! (Ἰησοῦ Ἐπιστάτα)”.  They wanted him to have mercy on them (ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς).  This was a common approach to Jesus.  They wanted mercy or compassion.  They called Jesus their master, as if they were slaves.  Luke alone, among the biblical writers, used this term Ἐπιστάτα, that means master, teacher, chief, or commander, 7 times in this gospel.  However, they did not call him “Lord”.  What is your favorite title for Jesus?

Tell him what you have seen (Lk 7:22-7:22)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Go!

Tell John!

What you have seen

And heard.

The blind

Receive their sight.

The lame

Walk.

The lepers

Are cleansed.

The deaf

Hear.

The dead

Are raised up.

The poor

Have good news

Brought to them.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πορευθέντες ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰωάνει ἃ εἴδετε καὶ ἠκούσατε· τυφλοὶ ἀναβλέπουσιν, χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν, λεπροὶ καθαρίζονται, καὶ κωφοὶ ἀκούουσιν, νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται, πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται·

 

Luke said that Jesus answered the disciples of John (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  He told them to go tell John (Πορευθέντες ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰωάνει) what they had seen and heard (ἃ εἴδετε καὶ ἠκούσατε).  The blind ones receive their sight (τυφλοὶ ἀναβλέπουσιν).  The lame walk (χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν).  The lepers are cleansed (λεπροὶ καθαρίζονται).  The deaf hear (καὶ κωφοὶ ἀκούουσιν).  The dead are raised up (νεκροὶ ἐγείρονται).  The poor have good news brought to them (πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται).  This is almost word for word like Matthew, chapter 11:4-5, indicating a possible Q source.  Jesus responded or answered these disciples and their main question.  He told them to report back to John after their journey what they had heard and seen.  Then Jesus listed what he had been doing.  The blind people have recovered their sight.  The lame people were walking around.  The lepers were cleansed.  The deaf were able to hear.  The dead were raised up.  The poor and destitute people were getting good news brought to them.  This is a very strong response, as if to say that he was the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one, something that Jesus did not do often.  This messianic expectation was based on Isaiah, chapter 35:4-6, when the savior, their God would come with a vengeance to make up for past problems.  He would come to save them.  Isaiah seems to indicate that there would be a reversal of fortune, a change in the ways that things happen.  The blind would see.  The deaf would hear.  The lame would run.  The mute people would speak.  Have you had a change in your life?

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.

Statutes about lepers (Lev 13:45-13:46)

“The person who has the leprous’ disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled.   He shall cover his upper lip and cry out ‘Unclean, unclean.’  He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease.  He is unclean.  He shall live alone.  His dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

Here is the main problem.  As a person with a leprous disease, you are a leper.   Certainly all kinds of skin diseases are included in this, particularly what we would call skin cancer.  Therefore, there are consequences to being unclean.  First, you have to wear torn clothes and let your hair be disheveled.   I can understand not taking care of your hair, but why the torn clothes?  Next, you had to cover your upper lip and cry out ‘Unclean, unclean.’  You had to self disclose that you were unclean.  Finally, you had to live alone.  You had to live outside the camp in a mini leper camp.  To get sick was to be an outcast, much of what we do with mentally ill people today.  You were not ritually pure.  However, it was not permanent if the disease went away, you could be purified.  Thus, even until the twentieth century, there were leper colonies, particularly in Hawaii on the island of Molokai. The idea of quarantine for people with polio and other infectious diseases is still common today.