Sunday 09 October 2016

Bible Book:

“When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were made clean.” (v. 14)

Luke 17:11-19 Sunday 9 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 111


The structure of a central part of Luke's Gospel (from the endof chapter 9 to the middle of chapter 19) is dictated by Jesus'journey to Jerusalem. Luke tells us that Jesus "set his face to goto Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51). The first event on the journeynarrative is a rejection: Jesus attempts to enter a Samaritanvillage and is turned away (Luke9:52-56). We are reminded of that episode here. Luke reiteratesthat Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem. He is in the borderlandbetween Galilee and Samaria (presumably skirting around Samaritanterritory) and is entering a village when he encounters a group often lepers.

The lepers would have lived outside the village. Leprosy was afeared condition in the ancient world. The book of Leviticusdetails comprehensive regulations for the exclusion of lepers, theexamination of those who claim to have recovered and the offeringof sacrifice. Only a priest could pronounce a leper was fit torejoin the community (Leviticus chapters 13 and 14). Here theseregulations are observed: the lepers keep their distance and haveto shout to attract Jesus' attention; Jesus refers them to thepriest for examination and it is on their way there, apparentlywithout any other action on their part or his, that they discoverthemselves to be healed.

One of the (cured) lepers then transgresses the convention. Heruns back to Jesus, "falls at Jesus' feet" (which implies somephysical proximity) and expresses his thanks. Luke, a masterstoryteller, delays revealing a significant detail about thisindividual: "he was a Samaritan" (v. 16). Jesus' comments thenimply that the Samaritan is the only one who has responded as hehad expected to the miracle that has benefitted them all. His finalremark to the Samaritan is ambiguous. Does Jesus say 'Your faithhas healed you' meaning that it was faith that caused his cure fromleprosy or 'Your faith has saved you' meaning that his gratitude isa sign of an inner attitude which has opened him to a richerblessing than the other nine received?

To Ponder

  • It appears that the lepers set out to see the priest beforerealising that they have been cured. Can you think of a time whenyou have acted in the belief that something had occurred evenbefore you had the evidence to support that belief? Whathappened?
  • Lepers suffered from the stigma of their disease and were seena people who should not enjoy the company of others. Rememberingthat today is Prisons Sunday, consider who the 'lepers' are in oursociety.
  • The story suggests two ways to offer thanks to God - the formalobedience to the law and the spontaneous voicing of praise. Whichhas been apparent to you in your worship, especially if you havebeen to church today? How and why?
Previous Page Saturday 22 October 2016
Next Page Monday 10 October 2016