22 November 2007

Mystery Quotation: Thanks giving

by Dan Phillips

Well, brothers and sisters, how about another round of Mystery Quotation?

Remember, no tricks
  1. Use your memory (or guessing) alone
  2. No electronic tools
  3. No Googling
And so, here is your special Thanksgiving (not "Turkey") Day Mystery Quotation:

Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers illustrates the importance of thanksgiving. Countless sermons have been preached about the healing of the ten lepers, focusing attention on the theme of gratitude. The thrust of many of these sermons has been that Jesus healed ten lepers, but that only one of them was grateful. The only polite response to such preaching is to call it what it is—nonsense. It is inconceivable that a leper enduring the abject misery he faced daily in the ancient world would not be grateful for receiving instant healing from the dreadful disease. Had he been one of the lepers, even Adolph Hitler would have been grateful.

The issue in the story is not one of gratitude, but of thanksgiving. It is one thing to feel grateful; it is another thing to express it. Lepers were cut off from family and friends. Instant cleansing meant release from exile. We can imagine them deliriously happy, rushing home to embrace their wives and children, to announce their healing. Who would not be grateful? But only one of them postponed his return home and took time to give thanks. The account in Luke 17 reads: “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan” (verses 15-16; italics mine).

Thus spake... who?

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36 comments:

joshh said...

Could it be... Martyn Lloyd-Jones?

-josh

DJP said...

Could be.

But no.

(c;

Ryan said...

Hi Dan,

Such straight-forward talk...could it be A.W. Pink?

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Mike Riccardi said...

I don't know how anyone who's read the first few chapters of Future Grace wouldn't at least think this was from Piper.

I have a question, though, Dan. Is the Scripture quotation at the end part of the original quote, or did you add it in there?

Solibond said...

John MacArthur

DJP said...

Part of the quotation, Mike. (I'm very hamfisted in differentiating my comments or additions from quotations.)

donsands said...

Alistair Begg?

Mike Riccardi said...

Thanks, Dan. Now, feel free to delete this if it's not cool to demonstrate how I'm thinking about this.

But the Scripture quote is in the ESV. And it's part of the quotation, that means it's gotta be pretty recent from someone who uses the ESV. Based on that and the similarity of the idea to Piper's Future Grace comments on gratitude, I'm going with him.

So even if I'm wrong, I've supported my answer.

:op

DJP said...

Mike, that is very clever, and my hat is off to you.

However....

Is the ESV a fresh translation? Or is it based on another?

GrammaMack said...

Mike, look at the RSV: Luke 17:15-16 is exactly the same as in the ESV. So there goes that theory...apparently.

Marie said...

Simon the Leper?

Marie said...

Or, maybe it's R.C. Sproul?

Mike Riccardi said...

Dang...

Solibond said...

Sinclair Ferguson

Daniel said...

I don't know who it was, but I agree with him.

I will guess however Tozer, just because it has something of his tone in it.

DJP said...

The winner is...

MARIE!

DingDingDingDingDingDingDing!

R.C. Sproul, Following Christ (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996, c1991)

Spurgeonwannabe said...

Is it Doug Pagitt?

DJP said...

wow

Spurgeonwannabe said...

I recant not even funny

SolaMeanie said...

No, if an Emergent had written this, it would read something like this. . .

Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers could be used to illustrate the importance of thanksgiving, whatever that means to you. Countless sermons have been preached about the healing of the ten lepers, focusing attention on the theme of gratitude. I think most of the preachers have been way too, like, certain, man. It could well have been a story told by Jesus' disciples to make the point that terrorists, illegals, homosexuals, bisexuals, the transgendered, and others like them shouldn't be outcasts, but welcomed in full orbed communion with the church. Hey, Jesus ate with sinners, didn't he? And what does sin really mean?

The thrust of many of these sermons has been that Jesus healed ten lepers, but that only one of them was grateful. How judgmental. They could have been too shy. But even if that was the case, who are we to condemn the other lepers. In my opinion, and it's just one of many, is that any leper would slap Jesus on the back and say, "Thanks, Dude!" Some might use Hitler as a reference, but let's not go there. Too controversial and divisive.

The issue in the story could be gratitude, but it could also be thanksgiving. It could be a warning about personal hygiene. It could be about being separated from loved ones by our own intolerant attitudes. Instead, lets's imagine them deliriously happy, rushing home to embrace their wives and children, to announce their healing. Who would not be grateful? But only one of them postponed his return home and took time to give thanks. Again, how do we know that? The Bible just isn't clear on that point. The account in Luke 17 reads: “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan." What does that mean to you? Come back tonight for our combination sermon/roundtable discussion, and we can all be edified by what the story means to you. One word of warning. Don't anyone try to insist that their interpretation is correct. Arrogance isn't allowed here.


Satire aside, I am thankful for much today, including this blog where iron sharpens iron, where I learn something almost every day, where I can correct and be corrected, where I can amuse and be amused, and above all, where I can celebrate our Lord and Savior with a host of like-minded brothers and sisters.

P.S. I had to delete the previous two posts because I caught a typo. I wish comments had spell check.

Stefan said...

Of course it was a Samaritan who gives thanks. The Gospel is so beautiful in its elegance. God's covenant of Grace is for all whom He calls to himself, from all nations.

We already had our Thanksgiving up here in the frozen North, but blessings to all of you and praise by the Lord our God, who provides all.

Stefan said...

Thanks be to the Lord our God for calling us out of the world, and gathering us in to His Holy Mountain, to congregate by the stream of living water and sing Hosannahs to the Lamb of God.

Thanks be to the Lord our God, the sole author of providence, our redemption and salvation, who has paid the ransom for our sins, broken the curse of the Law, and offered us the unmerited gift of eternal life. May His mighty Name be praised forever.

DJP said...

Good one, sola.

Or maybe the point of the story was that the nine did what Jesus said, and just went to "be real" with their families.

The one who came back was a super-pious show-off.

And of course "leprosy" stands for the disenfranchised, like homosexuals, transgendered, Democrats. Stuff like that.

Oh, but wait... Jesus healed them....

Well, I'm sure that can be massaged somehow.

Marie said...

That's a great quote for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

pastorbrianculver said...

thank you for the posts! happy Thanksgiving to all here. God bless
Brian

Daniel said...

DJP - democrats! LOL! I am so glad I wasn't drinking at the time I read that.

Daniel said...

I would like to withdraw my guess of Tozer, now that I know it was Sproul.

DJP said...

Oh, Daniel -- did I write that out loud?

centuri0n said...

Since we're into the frollicking here in BigD's meta, there's something else about Jesus' encounters with lepers I always find instructive.

For those of you who have never taken the time to read Leviticus (you know: it's not as liberating as reading Osteen, they say), there's something really devastating about leprosy from the Leper's standpoint: he is now himself unclean and a source of uncleanliness. It's his -duty- to stay away from other people.

These aren't people who are simply looked down on by other people: these are people who have the unfortunate problem of being a source of condemnation for others. They must announce who and what they are as they walk around, and not approach those who are, at least by appearances, clean.

Yet, Jesus approaches them and heals them.

Where, indeed, were the other 9?

Stefan said...

Sproul was kind of obliquely alluding to the Levitical laws when he wrote, "Lepers were cut off from family and friends. Instant cleansing meant release from exile."

candyinsierras said...

Solameanie: Thanks for the great laugh today!

SolaMeanie said...

Frank,

You mean that someone in that condition is still expected to exhibit selflessness and to put the welfare of others ahead of his own?

Fie on you! Next thing I know, you'll be exhorting us to follow the biblical, genuine example of the Master and not our own perception of it.

Dr Fin said...

I know you didn't write this, Dan, but this quote and its rationale borders on the absurd. An argument and dismissal of other sermons based on an idiosyncratic, unsubstantiated definition of a word?

Here's what one dictionary says about the words "gratitude" and "thankfulness":

gratitude: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

thankfulness: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

Expression of the feeling is not implied in either definition: one can feel thankful and remain silent or feel gratitude and express it.

As you know (better than I), eucharistos in its various forms is sometimes translated "thankfulness" and less frequently as "gratitude." The two words, while not identical, are quite synonymous.

If anything is "nonsense," it would be dismissing all other sermons as "nonsense" because of the use of the word "grateful." I'm surprised by Sproul on this one.

Well, I know this is technically off-topic, but thank you for allowing me to rant a bit. I'm just a bit stunned by the silliness of such "nonsense."

Gilbert said...

Frank,

I never thought of it on that level before! This is what my little faith has come up with:

1. They were so overwhelmed by joy and giddyness, they forgot to give thanks. And I, for one, take His grace and blessings too much for granted.

2. They think wow...who has cleaned me? They are too scared to come back, fearing him. Jesus healed them physically...but the Spirit wasn't given to them, so...they were changed physically, but their hearts weren't necessarily changed.

3. They were told to go to the priests and tell them.

4. Hey, He knows I am grateful!

Then I asked myself "What is the importance of the Bible specifically singling out this one event of a lack of gratitude and thanksgiving?". Jesus healed quite a few sick people. Were all of them grateful and full of thanks except for these particular lepers? I couldn't come up with one great answer.

So, I assert that this cries out for a blog post from someone wiser than myself on this issue. Anyone?

And for the video people who understand this: who said "Ready Solameanie satire...take satire" today? :-) Very funny and sad at the same time!

The Space68Cowboy said...

Interesting post...

DJP said...

As I close the meta:

Dr Fin, your observation is completely off-base. It would make as much sense as my focusing on your mentioning eucharistos, when that word never occurs in the passage. The error you commit is one the etymological fallacy, focusing on word-origin over usage.

Read the passage, and particularly the part Sproul quotes at the end, and you see that Jesus' point is exactly Sproul's point: whether or not the lepers feel gratitude is not the issue. The issue is whether or not they express gratitude. And only the despised Samaritan does.

Thus the application to Thanksgiving, which is being forcibly morphed into Turkey Day. It is an occasion on which Americans should express gratitude to God.