Pastor John E Merseth Sr. (#815)
Text: Luke 17:11-17 Immanuel Lutheran Audubon & Calvary Lutheran Ulen
Devotion for the 14th Sunday after Trinity 2019
We pray, Almighty Creator, Owner of all the universe and everything in it, turn our hearts to treasure the wisdom of Your Word, which gives us the riches of Your love in Christ. Teach us to never be forgetful of all You have showered upon us. We pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.
In the gospel lesson faith led ten lepers to call on Jesus for help. Faith allowed them to enjoy Christ’s gift of healing. The main message of this account, however, is how faith led one of the healed lepers to return to Jesus with words of praise and thanksgiving. Ever faithful to the unworthy, Jesus did not remove his blessing from the nine whose gratitude was lacking. But only the one who returned experienced the special privilege of bringing joy to Jesus with the fruit of his faith.
Our gospel lesson and text for today is written in the 17th chapter of St. Luke reading verses 11-19. we read as follows in Jesus name. “Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” O Lord Sanctify us by the truth Your Word is truth, Amen.
Dear Fellow Redeemed: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Last Sunday we read the parable of the Good Samaritan. Remember there was not a good relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans. However, when the good Samaritan found a Jew in distress, the differences did not matter to him.
In our text for today, we do not read a parable, but of a real encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan, along with nine Jews. They were united in affliction; they were all lepers. Leprosy is a very ugly skin disease. Because of the threat to the health of the people, the law of Moses commanded them to live apart from other people. In addition, the lepers could not enter the Temple of Jerusalem to worship God. Not only for the threat to health, but also to show that nothing impure can be in the presence of God.
However, sometimes the leprosy subsided and the man regained his health. According to the law, he should appear before the priests of the Temple. They were able to check his body and pronounce him healthy. With a certificate from the priests, he could enter the Temple, also return to his home and family.
The mercy of God is undeserved and unconditional. When the Samaritan returned to thank God. When Jesus asked, “Where are the nine, He did not withdraw the gift of health from those who did not return to thank Him. The others resumed their lives in this world without the sure promise of eternal life. But the Samaritan returned and received a more precious gift: The words of absolution. “Your faith has saved you.”
We receive the same gift at baptism, and every Sunday when we confess our sins, God through the pastor reaffirms His forgiveness. And after we offer our praises, petitions and thanksgiving, God offers us the gift of His body and blood in the Holy Supper. Yes, all of us are lepers from birth. But we who live here in the Church with the Word and Sacraments are also all cleansed, and if we let leprosy get the upper hand again, the Lord is near so that we can cry out to Him: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” All who see that they are unclean and feel that they are sick also cry out for help. Then the Lord says: “Go and be cleansed; go and believe My Word, believe in the cleansing power of My blood, and you are clean!
You and I can come confidently with God’s holy people, we can sit at His Supper, and appear before God in heaven.” We must do just as these ten who went at the Lord’s word before they saw they were clean. They went in faith, believed His word, trusted that they would be cleansed, because He said it. They went to show themselves as clean, while they still saw and felt their uncleanness; we should do that also.
All who see their sin and feel themselves to be sick and poor, lost and condemned, should hear the Lord’s Words: ‘I have cleansed you with the washing of water in the Word… You are clean through the Word that I have spoken to you.” And they that believe the Word, they are cleansed indeed.
Yes all are received in grace with God, are justified, have forgiveness, and no one can accuse or condemn them. Let all the Jewish priests and Jesus’ worst enemies, let all the faithful and all the wicked, all spirits and all angels, see someone who believes this Word from the Lord: “I have cleansed you with water and blood; you are clean.” And they shall confess that it is true; for as the mouth of the Lord speaks, so it is, and whoever believes has it.
Then we should go and thank Him. Only in this way can we preserve our purity; only with Jesus can the cleansed remain clean.
The nine are to warn us, and the one is to encourage us. Keep coming back to the Savior again and again and thank Him! Never forget what He has done for you! There are indeed not many who forget to give thanks as soon as they are cleansed; but when one has been nourished in grace for a longer time, it becomes commonplace, and it is easy to forget to praise the Lord. Therefore, it is so very necessary that we see our sin ever more clearly, and eagerly and always feel how wonderful it is to receive forgiveness.
Never, never let Jesus’ blood or the precious washing of Baptism become insignificant to you, and never neglect giving thanks for them. Always sing a new song for the old grace of God, which is ever new, yes, ever greater and greater, ever fresher and richer! “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all our iniquities, Who heals all our diseases, Who redeems our life from destruction, Who crowns you and me with lovingkindness and tender mercies”? We happy children of God, praise the Lord now, in this hour and today, tonight and tomorrow, constantly, as long as we live. It is His will that Satan cannot hinder it! Blessed are You, Lord Jesus. You atoned for all my sin with Your holy and precious blood! You are greatly to be praised for the saving Word of the Gospel, for the cleansing water of Baptism, and for the healing food of the Holy Supper! You are greatly to be praised for the grace of the Spirit who kindled in my soul the spark of faith, Amen. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus AMEN