Will you still respect me when I recall how I once spent part of a summer vacation?
I fear not.
Within the course of a summer week, my wife and I binge-watched a season of 24. As you probably recall from that now ancient TV series, each episode represented one “real time” hour. The actions begin and conclude during a single frenzied, fractious day (which takes twenty-four shows to resolve).
In order to keep the plot’s velocity at breakneck speed, there was a dump truck’s load of unbelievable scenes. An example? Two different characters shot themselves to cover their duplicity with the bad guys. Apparently, in the fictional world of caffeinated thrillers, a bad guy’s so-called friends won’t suspect deceitful actions if he’s bleeding after the firefight.
Luke 17:11-19 – The 21st Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, October 9, 2016
“No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18)
First it was ten men in Luke 17:11-19
Then, as Luke continued the account of this healing, the reader’s informed that the ten men had skin diseases. “Skin diseases” is how the Common English Bible translates leproi from the New Testament Greek. Other translations use leper or leprosy. We now know anyone with a “skin disease” could be labeled as a leper during Biblical times. Regardless of accuracy, they were considered unclean; to be avoided, scorned, and isolated. Their outward appearance served as an obvious clue to their inner sins.
Next in the passage, after instructions from Jesus, and after departing to become clean—healed and acceptable to society—one of the ten returned. He was a Samaritan.
How could Jesus do that!
Why would Jesus do that?
Those two phrases would likely describe the first century listener’s reaction to this tale when one of the healed men is revealed as . . .
Luke 13:10-17 – The 14th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, August 21, 2016
The synagogue leader, incensed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded . . .” (Luke 13:14)
The synagogue leader remained, still reeling from the unexpected confrontation. The words he’d challenged the Nazarene with kept repeating inside his mind, as if a giant muscled an anvil back and forth, slinging it against the sides of his head:
There are six days during which work is permitted. Come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath day!
He could’ve done better than those sentences. He was, after all, the leader . . . their leader. The one the congregation trusted. The one people looked to for an example. Wasn’t he the one who knew the laws, the scripture, and the difference between right and wrong?
He should’ve kept it simple and ordered the interloper to leave!
Get out of my synagogue. Now!
He should’ve shamed Jesus. Reminded him who really knew the law!
You dishonor God and the Sabbath and all of the laws of Moses and do not deserve to be called one among the Chosen! You are not a teacher, but a charlatan and a disappointment!
He should’ve reminded him who was superior! This wasn’t Jesus’ home, and no one had invited him to be here! Continue reading →