Healing the 10 lepers....I've always had a bit of trouble with this

Today’s reading from Luke…
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Sama’ria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance
13 and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
17 Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

I’ve always had a bit of trouble with this one…So much not clarified…The implication seems to be that the 9 who did not return to thank Jesus were somehow ungrateful.
Yet - the one who DOES return does so in disobedience to Jesus’ instruction to go and show himself to the priests.
Are we to assume that the other 9 likewise did not show themselves to the priests?
Or are we to assume that they DID show themselves to the priests - per Jesus’ instructions - but then did not praise God for their cure?

Perhaps they DID show themselves cured AND gave praise to God which would mean that they are innocent of any wrongdoing - where the one who DID return was guilty of not following the instructions expressly given by Our Lord…

Of the many lessons and parables etc in the Gospels - - this one just does not seem to be the best or the clearest…

Has anyone else had a similar thoughts or issues with this lesson?

Peace
James

I was thinking he turned back after seeing the priest that’s what I thought was implied.

It was all about gratitude. All 10 of them were CURED of an incurable disease! Yet only one person, out of 10, even bothered to come back and thank him!!!

At that time, leprosy was even worse than it is today. You were excluded from the community. You had to scream, “unclean!”

We are to be grateful, give thanks to God for the gifts receive. Really, every single day, we should be thanking God for everything and not be like the other nine folks that never so much as ever said, “thank you”.

I think they showed themselves to the priest, and the one returned after that. The reason they had to show themselves to the priest was that the priest would write out a certificate that they were now clean and could then return to society, once again.

I think the one did show himself to the priest but came back after he had finished, fulfilling everything Christ asked and expressing his gratitude.

Also, the one who came back, I think was even a foreigner, wasn’t he? A non-Jew!
I think Christ had underscored this fact, that the Jews should have come to him but didn’t, a gentile did.

I think you are missing the point in this story. You are reading this as if the point is Jesus giving a set of instructions and whether they followed it word by word. That is not the point and the reason why the question of if they went after to the priest is left out because that is irrelevant here. This story is about being grateful. Ten people who were given a grace by God and only one was capable to recognize it and give thanks for it. The scripture is clear that the other nine were not grateful for it. Jesus was clearly not happy about the behavior of the other nine and this reflects to our lifes as many times God gives us wonderful graces but we are not grateful for it. We shouldn’t be like the nine, instead be lile the tenth who took a second to give thanks.

Jesus’ command that they go show themselves to the priests wasn’t an imperative, but rather for their benefit. He told them to do this so that the priests would see that Jesus was the Messiah, that they had truly been healed, and so they could fulfill the law and return to living among their loved ones once again. Lepers were outcasts in society who had to announce their condition if they came near others and had to live outside the community so they wouldn’t infect others.

The one who returned was so grateful he didn’t care first about his own benefit, but wanted to thank Jesus for healing him before his own benefit. He most likely went to the priests afterwards. We aren’t told every detail because Luke was only interested in telling us that we ought to be grateful for what God does for us, and to demonstrate that Jesus truly was the Messiah.

Perhaps they DID show themselves cured AND gave praise to God which would mean that they are innocent of any wrongdoing - where the one who DID return was guilty of not following the instructions expressly given by Our Lord…

Apparently, they did what Jesus told them to do in going to the priests, but they didn’t show gratitude to Jesus himself, who had healed them of this terrible and incurable disease. They seemed to be more interested in getting their lives back. Also, although they were physically healed, they missed out on being spiritually healed, as was the one who returned to give thanks. Fulfilling the requirements of the Law of Moses was never the means of salvation, it only foreshadowed it. Being grateful for their healing would have meant they cared more about giving thanks than just getting what they wanted.

Of the many lessons and parables etc in the Gospels - - this one just does not seem to be the best or the clearest…

Has anyone else had a similar thoughts or issues with this lesson?

Peace
James

We have to understand the author’s intentions in relating the incident–it’s not a parable but something that actually happened. The lessons we are to draw from it are what’s important. We cannot know the fate of the 9 who did not return–that wasn’t Luke’s intention. But we can know that we ought to be grateful for all God does for us and not just be thinking of what we want/need.

Whether that one leper went to show himself to the priest then returned to thank Jesus or he thanked Jesus first then went to show himself to the priest, there was no disobedience. The key point is only one, the Samaritan, showed his gratitude. Jesus said only one was grateful tells the fact that the other nine was not. Surely Jesus knows people’s hearts, if He said so, that must be it.

Lot’s of good replies…
First - just know that I don’t get all out of whack over this…I do understand the basic lesson intended. We should praise God in all things so there is no problem there.

I have just always found this passage to be somewhat less than - shall we say - clear, clean and inspiring. However - from the responses it appears I am in the minority for sure - and that was my real question. Did anyone else notice the same things I did. The answer seems to be a resounding “NO”…:shrug:

AH well. God is good. Praise be to God in all things.

Peace
James

No I totally agree with you its not very clear but I still understood the message was that he turned back afterwards or that the point was giving thanks and praise.

I’ve always understood it as meaning they were healed “as they went”. That is to say, they were healed even before they got to the priests, merely as they obeyed the injunction to “go”.

When the Samaritan saw he’d been healed, he immediately turned around, and went back to thank Christ, rather than going through the ritual of the law. And as a Samaritan, he may not have felt as duty bound by Jewish law as the bona fide Jews themselves. They didn’t get on with the Jews, and quite possibly he expected some sort of disdainful putdown by the priests even if he did see them. He had less reason than the others to see the priests.

I don’t have a difficulty with that. But I’ve never been surprised the other nine didn’t go back - they’d been ostracised by their own people for years. They had families to catch up with, jobs to try and get, they were dog poor, they had nothing.

Healing was only the beginning of another struggle. I don’t blame them. I feel a kinship with them to some extent - God may have “lifted” me from an atheistic dead end some time ago, but He hasn’t exactly been helpful in a lot of other ways. He’s been very, very discouraging at times. So I don’t often feel thankful.

I can relate to the nine ungrateful lepers.

Bob - A most interesting perspective and insights…Thanks for sharing this.
You’ve brought in a factor that I think few really look at. That is the mental and emotional state of the other nine - indeed of all lepers in that time and culture.

By the way - - I do agree that there are times when being a disciple can be downright frustrating discouraging and even depressing.

Peace
James

I think you are doing three things here: 1. looking at this incident as if Jesus made a command that had to be followed. I don’t see that. He merely wanted them to fulfill the law for the reasons cited. 2. Seeing it apart from the culture and understanding of the times. And 3. over analysing it, reading things into it that aren’t there. :slight_smile:

When we run across passages that puzzle us, a good concordance/commentary can help us sort out the spiritual, cultural, and theological aspects of it. Also assuming the Gospel’s author, as well as the Church, understood Jesus’ intentions and what we are to make of it/not make of it.

There is the other side of reading the scripture and that is the spiritual side. What we take from it to nourish our soul.

In this case, for instance, it means to me that Jesus is touched when we thank him and that I should be more thoughtful and generous.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

Actually I was just doing one thing…Asking if others had seen what I saw…:smiley:

  1. looking at this incident as if Jesus made a command that had to be followed. I don’t see that. He merely wanted them to fulfill the law for the reasons cited.

Well - Jesus told them to do something…Is that not a command? Seems like it to me.
I’m not sure what subtle difference there could be that makes “Go and show yourselves to the priests” not a “command”.:shrug:

  1. Seeing it apart from the culture and understanding of the times.

You may be right,

  1. over analysing it, reading things into it that aren’t there. :slight_smile:

Actually the opposite is true. I am reacting to what IS written - without making too much in the way of assumption. The facts as I read them are

  1. The Lepers ask for Mercy.
  2. Jesus instructs (commands?) them to go and show themselves tot he priests.
  3. On their way they are cured -
  4. The one “turns back” to thank Jesus - Turns back from where? - From on the way to the priests…So as far as a simple reading goes - he never went to the priests.
  5. No further mention is made of the other nine…

I just don’t see much “analyzing” here.

Now others in reply to my question have introduced various analyses - i.e. possibilities and cultural factors - and I am grateful for that.
But I really don’t think I am over analyzing.

When we run across passages that puzzle us, a good concordance/commentary can help us sort out the spiritual, cultural, and theological aspects of it. Also assuming the Gospel’s author, as well as the Church, understood Jesus’ intentions and what we are to make of it/not make of it.
Amen

Peace
James

When we run across passages that puzzle us, a good concordance/commentary can help us sort out the spiritual, cultural, and theological aspects of it. Also assuming the Gospel’s author, as well as the Church, understood Jesus’ intentions and what we are to make of it/not make of it.
Amen

Peace
James

A lot of words for someone who isn’t analyzing the story. :wink:

Merely because Jesus was both God and man doesn’t mean that every time he said something to someone it was on par with “let there be light.” I’ve explained what he meant, and it’s not merely my opinion but that of the Church Fathers. The leper went as the other 9 did, he was healed as he went, as the other 9 were, and he came back to give thanks, but the other 9 didn’t. We actually know no more than that. Why? Because we don’t have to. Did Jesus think the man had violated his “command?” Apparently not. He didn’t upbraid him for it, just the opposite, he commended him for coming back to give thanks. If Jesus had intended that his words be taken as a command, why would he commend the man instead of censuring him, as you seem to have done. You are reading too much into it. It’s as simple as that. :slight_smile:

D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 19. Thy faith hath made thee whole. Were not the others also made whole? They were cleansed indeed from their leprosy, but it no where appears that they were justified in their souls like this Samaritan, of whom it said, thy faith hath made thee whole; whereas it was said of the others, that they were made clean, viz. of their leprosy in their body, though not justified in their soul: this the Samaritan alone seems to have obtained. (Maldonatus)

:thumbsup:

When we run across passages that puzzle us, a good concordance/commentary can help us sort out the spiritual, cultural, and theological aspects of it. Also assuming the Gospel’s author, as well as the Church, understood Jesus’ intentions and what we are to make of it/not make of it.
Amen

Peace
James

I didn’t take it as over analyzing at all. It appeared you were just asking us for our insights as well. No biggie.

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