by Mike Ratliff
16 καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρίτης. (Luke 17:16 NA28)
16 and he fell on his face at His feet thanking Him and He was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
I am leaving Wednesday morning to drive from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Wichita, Kansas. My wife and I have been invited to spend the Thanksgiving holiday there with her brother and sister-in-law and their son. He lives here in the OKC area as well and will ride with us on the roundtrip. I will be offline at least through Saturday the 29th. As I prepare for the trip I have noticed some things that have caused me to reflect on how “thankful” I am to God in the midst of some very ugly societal downgrades. The Ferguson, Missouri riots began last night for instance and it looks like there is political maneuvering behind much of how this being both instigated and handled. I am totally aghast at the blatant ignorance of some of the “talking heads” on Television about “the rule of law” and our President saying the most absurd thing last night in his speech that the violence and all that went with it in Ferguson was “understandable.” Is it? Should it be?
However, as I reflect on that sorry mess and God’s good work in His people’s lives I understand that we should be focusing on Him with hearts full of gratitude instead of outrage about this lost and dying world and all the fallenness permeating it through and through.
In the passage at the top of this post is a very familiar verse. Our Lord has just healed ten lepers, but only one returns to Him to give thanks and he is a Samaritan. The verb translated above as “thanking” is εὐχαριστῶν. This verb construction is a Present, Active, Participle, which means that it expresses continuous or repeated action, but the context of that action is relative to the main verb. What is the main verb? What was this fellow doing? We must return to v15 and the first part of v16 for our context. Here are vv15-16 from the NA27 followed by my translation.
15 εἷς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν, ἰδὼν ὅτι ἰάθη, ὑπέστρεψεν μετὰ φωνῆς μεγάλης δοξάζων τὸν θεόν, 16 καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρίτης. (Luke 17:15-16 NA28)
15 And one of them, having seen that he was healed, returned with a loud voice glorifying God, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet thanking Him and He was a Samaritan (Luke 17:15-16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
What is the main verb? In v15 we have the man realizing that he was healed, “having seen” that he was healed, he “returned” with a loud voice glorifying God, and he “fell on his face” at His feet thanking Him. The continuous action was in the thanking after he fell at our Lord’s feet, but isn’t it amazing how God touched this man’s heart? He saw the healing hand of God in him and with no hesitation, he returned to our Lord full or praise, glorifying God from a grateful Heart, he would not stop praising and thanking our Lord. I think I understand that.
The verb used here that is translated as “thanking,” εὐχαριστῶν is a Present, Active, Participle of εὐχαριστέω or eucharisteō. It describes thanksgiving. In this passage, the Samaritan was continually thanking our Lord for the blessing of healing. We are to show the same gratitude to God for the gift of faith, our salvation by Grace, and for the fact of what awaits us in eternity because of the work of Christ on our behalf.
How grateful are you for the gift of salvation by grace through faith my brethren? All that is good that we have in Christ is from God. Let us rejoice in Him and express it in sacrifice of praise.
Soli Deo Gloria!