Jesus comes in mercy and, by His Word, heals you in body and soul. “Go and show yourselves to the priests,” for you are cleansed (Luke 17:14), and you are granted access to the LORD’s Temple. It is “at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks” (Luke 17:16) that you worship God, for Christ Jesus is your great High Priest; His body is the true Temple. In Him, you “find rest, each of you in the house of her husband” (Ruth 1:9), for the Lord has “visited his people and given them food” (Ruth 1:6). The person of Jesus Christ lodges Himself in holy food — bread and wine for believers to eat and drink. You lodge where Jesus lodges; His Father is your God, His people are your people.
Death cannot part you from Him because His death and resurrection are eternally yours through Holy Baptism. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8). As surely as death could not hold Him, so surely “the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). His Gospel is entrusted “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2), so that you “may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10). Such is the confession of faith for all the saints, who believe, teach and confess the one Lord and Savior — Jesus Christ.
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 a 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 for daily sustenance.
On the way to Jerusalem, on the road that would ultimately lead to His death, Jesus encountered these ten pitiable men. Jesus is going to Jerusalem. He will only stop for them.
Going into a village, ten men, lepers met Jesus standing afar off. Whole cities would come out to meet a conquering King. Jesus is going into the leper's village. This reminds us of what sort of Savior He intends to be.
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 Gentiles, too, 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. This Descendant of a foreign, Moabite woman 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.
For what are you thankful this Thanksgiving? A bountiful harvest, a new grandchild, a promotion at work, the freedoms our country guarantees us to worship our Lord in sincerity and truth? Luther sums it up well in his explanation to the first article of the Apostles’ Creed: 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.
A blessed Thanksgiving.