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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You will suffer (Mk 13:9-13:9)

“Beware!

For yourselves!

They will hand you over

To councils.

You will be beaten

In synagogues.

You will stand

Before governors

And kings

Because of me,

As a testimony

To them.”

 

Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς· παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς δαρήσεσθε καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:17-18 and chapter 24:9, and in Luke, chapter 21:12-13, but there is nothing about death here in Mark.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted or distressed.  Mark indicated that the followers of Jesus should be aware about themselves (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before gentile governors and gentile kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This was tough talk, because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple follower of Jesus after he was gone.

Christian Community

We experience God in our community in the celebration of the story of Jesus Christ.  The coherent story of Jesus overcomes self-deception.  Jesus showed us how to be faithful to others and provides a model for constancy.  The Jesus narrative story transforms and empowers us.  Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the anointed one, the suffering servant.  For many the scandal of death by crucifixion was too much.  Christ’s resurrection defies scientific verification.  This is not just about Jesus of Nazareth, but Jesus, the Lord and Savior.  Jesus speaks to our hearts and minds.  Jesus lives on with his Holy Spirit in our community when we gather together.  There is a personal and social transformation that continually takes place with a deeper and richer understanding of the human person and authentic community.  We all have a personal development of our faith.  We live our discipleship of Jesus in justice, love and healing as our faith springs into action.