Friday, October 11, 2019

Pentecost 18 - Proper 23

Pentecost 18 – Proper 23
12 October 2019
Luke 17:11-19
How you can be made well

From the Catechism we read, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.” [1]

On the way to Jerusalem, on the road that would ultimately lead to His death, Jesus encountered ten pitiable men. He had mercy on them, and, foreshadowing the restoration of all creation at the Last Day, healed them of their dread disease. Only one returned to Jesus to give thanks—a foreigner, the Samaritan.

Christ came into the world to save all people, regardless of ethnicity, skin color, or other outward characteristics. We ought to fall at Jesus’ feet and give thanks for having rescued us from the far more dread disease of sin and its consequences of eternal, and not just temporal, death. 

Jesus – whom Himself was a descendant of a foreign, Moabite woman (Ruth) has made us clean. He Himself is the High Priest who declares us clean to His Father, and gives us a place in His kingdom.

There was no love lost between Jews and Samaritans. Had they been healthy, the nine Jewish lepers would have had had nothing to do with this person whom they considered a half-breed, little better than a heathen. 

But leprosy had made them all outcasts from society, depending on the kindness of strangers in for daily sustenance.

The faith of the Samaritan had grown – for he not only believed in the power of Jesus to heal but he saw Jesus as the only one through whom the Father was working. It was his faith which made him whole. Our text answers a basic question of faith – how you can be made well.

1. What are you are saved from – ingratitude.

A.      In a word we call this selfishness.

1. We live in a world where everything seems to be centered on self. We’ve been trained by our culture to believe in ourselves. Not only do we want to be wealthy and famous, we’ve been oriented to feel we deserve it.

2. This focus on self leads some to become self-serving and spoiled. Thinking they should get whatever they want, they will torment anyone who doesn’t give into their demands. Thus, a man all wrapped up in himself becomes quite a small package.

B.      Taking things for granted.

1. Possibly we’re so focused on self because we’ve never had it so good. What is there that is lacking in our lives? Do we not live in the lap of luxury?We’re comfortable. And yet there are persons living in misery - feeling unfulfilled, frustrated, disgruntled, angry. 

2.  We don’t know how good we’ve had it until it is taken away from us. We do not know how these men lived before leprosy became their lot. But we do know what they had become –exiles, untouchable, shipwrecked. 

C.     Negativism.

1. Blessings are not a guarantee. No one is immune. Do we count our blessings or our problems?  Have we grown to expect them?

2. Negativism can possibly be a result of being spoiled.“A selfish man is a thief.” [2}  He will steal your heart, your money and your livelihood if you let them.

Transition: We have been saved from ingratitude – yet as we count our blessings we return thanks to the Savior.

2. What we are saved for – gratitude.

A. Counting you blessings. “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praise God in a loud voice.” Vs. 15 The lepers left for the temple and to the priest because Jesus had commandment them to do so. The Samaritan returned. To give thanks to Jesus. He did this because of His faith. Faith always responds with gratitude. That is how you respond. With gratitude and thanks, and a grateful heart.

1. God has blessed us in so many ways. Look around you. Everything is a gift. Consider the open hand of your Merciful Master.  “Forgiveness, life, salvation.” These three come from your heavenly Father. How do you respond? “For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.”

2. His mercies cannot be counted. Says the Psalmist: “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.” Psalm 40:5

B. Recognizing God as the healer. The lepers cried, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Vs. 12 Which moved the hymn writer to inscribe these words, “Other refuge have I none; hangs my helpless soul on thee; leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me. All my trust on thee is stayed, all my help from thee I bring; cover my defenseless head with the shadow of thy wing.”  [3]

1. Lepers had to follow a specific prescription – after being quarantined they had to report to the priest. Before they even arrived at the temple behold they were cleansed. The priest’s inspection would verify they were whole. 

2. God still works through means. The doctor might hand us the bill but it is the Savior who heals. Christ not only died for all. He died for each.

C. Praising God for His goodness “he came back, praising God in a loud voice.” Vs. 15b Says the Psalmist in Psalm 107:8-9, "Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

1. He heals our diseases. When Jesus says, “Go!” That’s a complete sentence. It is one thing to feel grateful; it is another thing to express it. The louder you called for help, all the louder you should praise God. The Greek word used to describe his giving thanks εὐχαριστῶ is the word that is translated as Eucharist. The Eucharist is public thanks! Jesus is the true healer. Live your lives in perpetual thanksgiving and praise. At His table. And in your life.

2. Christ forgives our many sins. And it is the message of the cross which tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for He took them upon himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. From the cross God declares, 'I love you. I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pain that you feel. But I love you.'

With that lone leaper we can say, for all our Your tender mercies Lord, we give You thanks and praise.
Words – 1,220
Passive Sentences – 11%
Readability – 80.3%
Reading Level – 4.7

1. Luther's Small Catechism "Explanation of the First Article" copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
2. The famous Cuban poet Jose Marti 
3. Jesus, Lover of my Soul, stanza two copyright © 1942 The Lutheran Hymnal, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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