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The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

October 13, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Luke 17:11–17:19

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 17:11-19
Date: October 12th, 2019; Pentecost 18; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus was walking between Samaria and Galilee and he was approached by ten lepers.  
  • Leprosy is a terrible disease – especially for those who had it in Biblical times since there was no cure.
  • In those days, leprosy affected you individually and socially.
  • An individual with this disease would experience pain, terrible skin lesions, and horrible disfigurement.
  • It was a social disease in that people infected with it were quarantined.  They had to leave behind their family and friends, homes, and work.   They became outcasts.  
  • They had to live their dying days isolated from their previous lives.  
  • When a leper passed someone on the road, they had to cover their mouth and yell out, “Unclean! Unclean!” and keep as far away from people as possible. 
  • The only community a leper had was with fellow lepers.
  • Leprosy affected you both individually and socially.
  • Sin is also an individual and social disease.
  • Sin is a leprosy of the soul that affects us individually as it ruins our thinking, speaking, and acting.  
  • We have evil and hateful thoughts.  We have short-tempers and say things that hurt others.  We act in selfish ways without giving thought to how it affects the people around us. 
  • Sin affects us individually as our bodies can be injured, are prone to illness and disease, and eventually will die.
  • Sin affects us socially as it isolates us from each other.  
  • Instead of loving and building each other up, our sinful nature is filled with jealousy and is only concerned with getting what we want.
  • Sin leads to conflict, violence, and war. 
  • The worst part of sin, though, is that it separates us from God.  
  • Our sin makes us like lepers who are quarantined from God’s presence.  
  • Left untreated, sin would cause us to be separated from God eternally.    
  • We heard that ten lepers stood at a distance calling out to Jesus.
  • They didn’t cry out “Unclean, unclean” as they were supposed to, but they called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”  They sought mercy.
  • Even the lepers who were isolated had heard about Jesus’ power to heal.  They hoped and prayed he would do the same for them. 
  • At the very least they believed that Jesus had the power to heal them of their leprosy and return them to their previous lives.
  • “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us,” they cried out.
  • We do the same.  
  • We believe that Jesus has the power to heal us of our sin and death so we cry out for his mercy and healing. 
  • And just as Jesus did not avoid and flee from the ten lepers, so he does not run away from us. 
  • In fact, he became one of us and entered into our presence to save us.
  • He dwelt among us who are unclean with sin to cleanse us - to make us holy, pure, and righteous. 
  • “Go and show yourselves to the priests” Jesus said to the ten lepers. 
  • The priests were like the health inspectors who would verify that they were clean and could return to their homes and community. 
  • There would be a sacrifice of thanksgiving and a ritual of purification. 
  • And with a clean bill of health they could return home again.
  • After being healed, you can only imagine the faces of the ten lepers as they looked at each other in amazement. 
  • They were probably absolutely giddy with joy, dancing and high-fiving each other over how lucky they were to have bumped into Jesus that day on the road between Samaria and Galilee. 
  • You know what it’s like when you get well after being sick for a long time, or the diagnosis you feared turns out to be nothing. 
  • It’s like rising from the dead, like being born again.
  • 9 lepers who were healed went on their way – we’re not told where, but we can assume they went to the priests and then likely back to their families, friends, and lives. 
  • One of them stopped and turned around. Instead of going on with the others, he went back down the road to where Jesus was. 
  • This time, he didn’t stand at a distance but came right up to Jesus and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and gave thanks. 
  • And at this point, we learn that he was a Samaritan. 
  • Not only had he been a leper, he was one of “those” Samaritans.  A double loser in the eyes of any respectable Israelite. 
  • But only this outsider to Israel, this foreigner, turned to give thanks to Jesus for the healing he had received. 
  • Ten out of ten lepers were cleansed. Only one out of ten returns to worship and give thanks.
  • And it’s to this one that Jesus says, “Rise, and go your way, your faith has made you well.” 
  • In the Greek it says, “your faith has saved you.” 
  • That’s much more than just a physical healing.
  • The Samaritan knew whom to trust, not only with his diseases but also with his death. 
  • You might say that ten out of ten had faith to be healed - but only one out of ten had faith that saved. 
  • The story about the ten lepers is our story. 
  • Sin is a leprosy of the soul.  It isolates us and makes us unclean before God.  It causes suffering and leads to death.
  • Were it not for the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, we would be left in isolation - separated from God and isolated from each other.  
  • But the Good News is that Jesus became sin for us. He took up our disease, our uncleanness. 
  • He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
  • What Jesus did for that leper, he does for us. 
  • We have been cleansed of the leprosy of our sin by God’s Word of promise connected to the water of our Baptism. 
  • And like that Samaritan, we return to give thanks. We come back to the feet of Jesus to give our thanks and praise to him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. 
  • And while we aren’t yet completely “symptom free,” the cure has been applied and we are on our way to complete restoration of body and soul.
  • The healing comes finally to us in the resurrection of our bodies on the Last Day.
  • Then the cleansing, the healing, the saving will be complete and the leprosy of sin will be fully cured. 
  • Then Jesus will say to us what he said to the Samaritan on that road between  Samaria and Galilee that day, “Rise and go your way; your faith has saved you.” 
  • This Thanksgiving weekend as we spend time with family and friends eating turkey and bringing to mind all that we are thankful for - we above all give thanks to God that we are healed, forgiven, saved, and have the certain hope of eternal life.  Amen!  
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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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