sexta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2014


“Has no one returned to give praise to God
except this foreigner?”
Then he said to him,
“Rise and go;
your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17.18b-19 (see 17.11-19) - NIV

Again, Jesus shook up the scheme of popular social values. He praised the faith of a man despised by popular prejudice. The other nine men who were higher up on the social scale did not return to give thanks for their cure. All were lepers, but besides being a carrier of this disease one of the ten men was a Samaritan who was considered to be of an inferior race. Thus he was doubly handicapped. Leprosy was one of the most dreaded diseases, because it had spiritual connotations. A person with any blemish on the skin was considered to be spiritually unclean. The skin reflected the condition of the soul. Lepers were deprived of social contacts and banned from the temple because of blemishes on their skin. Simple skin infections, allergies or other irritations could disrupt a person's life! Only priests had power to declare them to be healed and pure.

Poor Samaritan!!! He had no chance! No priest who knew that he was a Samaritan would declare him to be clean. The fact that he was a Samaritan was already a curse in the eyes of the Jews. But for Jesus there was no curse. All were equal before the heavenly “Daddy”. Out of the group of ten lepers, the one who returned to Jesus with gratitude was the outcast. The others were satisfied only with the blessing of the priest and did not remember the true source of their cleansing. For them, the most important thing was to have the priestly blessing and regain their place in society.

The Samaritan was delivered from his leprosy, but he continued to be a despised Samaritan and subject to prejudice and discrimination. His great discovery was that in Jesus he had a friend among the thousands of otherwise hostile or indifferent Jews. Jesus was the only Jew who showed him love and respect.

Again, Jesus broke the religious barriers of his time. Jesus demonstrated that faith was not the monopoly of a few God chosen elite. The despised Samaritan had more faith than the nine others who belonged to the "chosen race". It was not by belonging to a certain religion or embracing correct beliefs that he was cured. His faith made him well. Faith was not the private property of the Jews or anyone else.

It is easy to confuse official blessings with faith. True faith leads to gratitude. To have faith is to be grateful. Faith led the Samaritan to show his gratitude for the grace that was given to him independent of the absence of official blessings. It was faith, not the blessing that healed him.

Orthodoxy, fundamentalism and other forms of radicalism define faith within certain limits. They do not recognize the faith of those who do not fit into their scheme of things. For them to have faith requires the acceptance of a given set of beliefs, standards of conduct and forms of worship. Jesus encouraged faith without heaping on a lot of extra burdens on people!

Christianity today has difficulty in accepting the "inclusions" of God. Many professed Christians look down on others whom they judge to be unworthy in some way because of their ethnic origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, economic conditions and many other differences. Many Christians would rather eliminate them (deport the illegals) than to extend a helping hand.

In the Gospels Jesus was always "prodding" the proud. Pride is a moral blemish. He lost no opportunity to show that his “Daddy” did not value any claim of superiority. The truly elected are unconscious of their election. Those who think that they are the elected deceive themselves. The Samaritan felt himself to be the most lost of all of the ten. The lack of a priestly blessing helped the Samaritan to recognize the true source of life. In this way his being scorned by others was transformed into a blessing.


Luke 17:11–19

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master,j have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

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