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?

 

The Holy Spirit and the Son of God (Lk 1:35-1:35)

“The angel

Said to her.

‘The Holy Spirit

Will come upon you.

The power

Of the Most High

Will overshadow you.

Therefore,

The child to be born

Will be holy.

He will be called

The Son of God.’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι· διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ.

 

Luke then has the Angel Gabriel reveal the whole plan.  Just as in Matthew, chapter 1:20, the angel told Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit.  Luke did the same here.  This Angel Gabriel answered Mary (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  He said that the Holy Spirit would come over her (Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ).  The power of the Most High God would overshadow or envelop her (καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι).  Her child would come forth or be born holy (διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον).  He would be called the Son of God (κληθήσεται Υἱὸς Θεοῦ).  This was a very theological statement uttered by the Angel Gabriel.  This child, Jesus would come about because of the Holy Spirit.  Elohim, the most high God, would overshadow her, the way that Yahweh had overshadowed the tent of dwelling with the covenant in Exodus, chapter 37:1-9.  This presence of God in Mary would make her pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The unique act of Jesus’ conception was a fully Trinitarian action involving the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the womb of Mary.  Obviously, the Son, her son, Jesus, would be born as a holy human person, clearly and rightfully called the Son of God.  This was a very developed theology of Luke, who always stressed the role of the Holy Spirit in his writings.

They did not believe John the Baptist (Mt 21:32-21:32)

“John came to you

In the way of righteousness.

You did not believe him.

But the tax collectors

And the prostitutes

Believed him.

Even after you saw it,

You did not change your mind.

You did not believe him.”

 

ἦλθεν γὰρ Ἰωάνης πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης, καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ· οἱ δὲ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐπίστευσαν αὐτῷ· ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰδόντες οὐδὲ μετεμελήθητε ὕστερον τοῦ πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ.

 

This saying about John the Baptist is unique to Matthew, based on his continual emphasis on the role of John the Baptist.  However, there is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 7:29-30, but within another context.  Jesus used the example of John the Baptist who had come to them in his righteousness way (ἦλθεν γὰρ Ἰωάνης πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης).  They had not believed him (καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε αὐτῷ), but the Roman tax collectors and the prostitutes had believed him (οἱ δὲ τελῶναι καὶ αἱ πόρναι ἐπίστευσαν αὐτῷ).  Even after they saw John (ὑμεῖς δὲ ἰδόντες), they did not change their minds, or repent (οὐδὲ μετεμελήθητε ὕστερον), or believe in him (πιστεῦσαι αὐτῷ).  Jesus chided them for their rejection of John the Baptist.

Parables for the crowds (Mt 13:34-13:34)

“Jesus told the crowds

All these things

In parables.

He told them nothing

Without a parable.”

 

Ταῦτα πάντα ἐλάλησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν παραβολαῖς τοῖς ὄχλοις, καὶ χωρὶς παραβολῆς οὐδὲν ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς

 

This explanation of the importance of parables is similar to Mark, chapter 4:33-34.  Jesus, via Matthew, told the crowds all these things in parables (Ταῦτα πάντα ἐλάλησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν παραβολαῖς τοῖς ὄχλοις).  In fact, he told hem nothing that was not a parable (καὶ χωρὶς παραβολῆς οὐδὲν ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς).  Thus, if the crowds did not understand what he was saying, it was not their fault.  Matthew underlines the role of these parables throughout this chapter.

A prophet and the righteous one (Mt 10:41-10:41)

“Whoever welcomes

A prophet

In the name of a prophet

Will receive

A prophet’s reward.

Whoever welcomes a righteous man

In the name of a righteous man

Will receive

The reward of a righteous man.”

 

ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται, καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται.

 

There does not seem to be a parallel verse to this saying of Jesus, via Matthew.  It seems like an extension or explanation of the preceding verse.  If you accept or welcome a prophet (ὁ δεχόμενος προφήτην) in that prophet’s name (εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου), then you would get a prophet’s reward (μισθὸν προφήτου λήμψεται).  If you accept a righteous man (καὶ ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον), in the name of a righteous man (εἰς ὄνομα δικαίου), then you would receive a righteous reward (μισθὸν δικαίου λήμψεται).  These prophets and righteous men will be the new disciples of Jesus.  Clearly Jesus emphasized the role of righteousness among his followers.  Jesus was incorporating the idea of prophetic justice or prophetic righteousness into his followers, who would not be afraid of his name.

Judaism as the root of Christianity

A rough comparison of Judaism and Christianity might be like the relationship of the eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.  Judaism would be like Hinduism and Christianity would be like Buddhism.  Both religions, Buddhism and Christianity rely on an already established religious base, Judaism and Hinduism, and emphasis the role of a single person, Buddha and Jesus.  Both Christianity and Judaism have the same base.  The center of the Old Testament covenant was Yahweh and his people, while the heart of the Christian message was around Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, who was Jewish.

The decree about the living God of Daniel (Dan 6:26-6:27)

“I make a decree.

In all my royal dominion,

People should tremble,

People should fear,

Before the God of Daniel!

He is the living God!

He endures forever!

His kingdom

Shall never be destroyed!

His dominion

Has no end!

He delivers!

He rescues!

He works signs

In heaven!

He works wonders

On earth!

He has saved Daniel

From the power

Of the lions.”

King Darius made a decree for his royal kingdom. People were to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, because he was a living God. He would endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, since it has no end. He delivers people. He rescues people. He works signs and does wonders, both in heaven and on earth. Most of all, he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions. This is a universal declaration that all people in the whole world should realize what the God of Daniel has done for him. What a wonderful description of the role of God in human lives. Interesting enough, this great proclamation comes from this questionable Darius the Mede, and not an Israelite leader or prophet.