The cured Samaritan leper (Lk 17:16-17:16)

“He prostrated himself

At Jesus’ feet.

He thanked Jesus.

He was a Samaritan.”

 

καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης.

 

Only Luke has this story about the curing of the ten lepers.  Luke indicated that this one cured leper prostrated himself or fell on his face (καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον) at Jesus’ feet (παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ).  He thanked Jesus (εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ).  It turns out that he was a Samaritan (καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης).  As this town was on the border between Galilee and Samaria, one of these lepers was a Samaritan.  Luke once again emphasized the role of a Samaritan.  In fact, this Samaritan leper was the only cured leper to return and prostrate himself at the feet of Jesus, thanking him.  The others went on their way to see the Jewish priests in Jerusalem for the ritual cleansing.  Was this cured leper Samaritan not going to go to the Judean priest for a cleansing anyway, since he would have gone to Mt. Gerizim?  Have you ever felt not like part of the group?

 

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Thank you (Lk 17:9-17:9)

“Do you thank

The slave

For doing

What he was

Commanded to do?”

 

μὴ ἔχει χάριν τῷ δούλῳ ὅτι ἐποίησεν τὰ διαταχθέντα;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus asked if they thanked (μὴ ἔχει χάριν) the slave (τῷ δούλῳ) for doing what he was commanded to do (ὅτι ἐποίησεν τὰ διαταχθέντα)?  After all, the slave was only doing his duty, his job.  Should you thank someone for doing what you asked them to do?

The prayer to the Lord (Sir 51:10-51:12)

“I cried out.

‘Lord!

You are my Father!

Do not forsake me

In the days of trouble!

There is no help

Against the proud.

I will praise your name continually!

I will sing hymns of thanksgiving!’

My prayer was heard.

You saved me from destruction.

You rescued me in the time of trouble.

For this reason,

I thank you.

I praise you.

I will bless

The name of the Lord.”

This author prayed to the Lord like he was asking his father to help him. A father does not give up on his son in times of trouble. He had no help against the proud people. However, he was going to praise the name of God continually by singing hymns of thanksgiving. Fortunately, his prayers were heard as he was saved from destruction. He was rescued in his time of trouble. Therefore, he thanked and praised the Lord. He blessed the name of the Lord.

The stranger (Sir 29:25-29:28)

“You will play the host.

You will provide drink

Without being thanked. Besides this

You will hear rude words. ‘Come here!

Stranger!

Prepare the table! Let me eat

What you have there!

Be off!

Stranger!

An honored guest is here!

My brother has come

For a visit!

I need the guest–room!’ It is hard

For a sensible person

To bear.

There is the scolding

About lodging.

There is the reproach

Of the moneylender.”

If you are a stranger in someone else’s house, you will have to play the part of a host and bartender without being thanked. People will speak rude words about you, since you are the stranger. This is somewhat reminiscent of Albert Camus and his 1942 work about the “Stranger.” You will be accepted for what you do, but at the same time you will not be really truly accepted for who you are.  You will not fully fit in.  You, the stranger, will be asked to be a waiter, almost like a servant. You will be moved around, depending on who is coming to the house. You many actually lose your room because a relative might come for a visit. These are some of the difficulties for the lodger staying in a strange house. You will be scolded about your renting as well as receive the criticism of the moneylenders.

Prayer to Yahweh (Ps 118:21-118:27)

“I thank you.

You have answered me.

You have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone.

This is Yahweh’s doing.

It is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day which Yahweh has made.

Let us rejoice!

Let us be glad in it!

Save us!

We beseech you!

Yahweh!

Yahweh!

We beseech your!

Give us success!

Blessed is the one

Who comes in the name of Yahweh!

We bless you from the house of Yahweh.

Yahweh is God!

He has given us light.

Bind the festal procession with branches!

Up to the horns of the altar!”

The psalmist thanked Yahweh for saving him. Then we have the famous phrases that became popular for many New Testament Christian writers, “The stone that the builders had rejected has now become the cornerstone.” There is also the saying that has been associated with the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.” Yahweh has done many marvelous things before their eyes. Thus the hosanna phrase, which means save us, also influenced the early Christian writers. They asked God to save them also. “Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord.” As you can see, this festive psalm had a profound effect on the early followers of Jesus Christ. They blessed Yahweh from inside his house because Yahweh was truly the God of light. They were to take their processional branches and put them on the horns around the altar. There is no doubt that this was a processional psalm of thanksgiving at a festive occasion.

The happy visit to Scythopolis (2 Macc 12:29-12:31)

“Setting out from Ephron, they hastened to Scythopolis, which is seventy-five miles from Jerusalem. However, the Jews who lived there bore witness to the goodwill that the people of Scythopolis had shown them. They had shown their kind treatment of them in times of misfortune. Thus the men of Judas Maccabeus thanked them. They exhorted them to be well disposed to their race in the future also.”

Scythopolis was about 75 miles northeast of Jerusalem on the Jordan River. There had been many battles fought here under the Hebrew name of Beth-Shan, where King Saul was defeated by the Philistines. By the 2nd century BCE it had the Greek name of Scythopolis. This time the Jews there said that the folks in this town treated them with good will. Since they had been treated kindly, they thanked them and moved on. There was no battle here.