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The blessing above all blessings

Luke 17:11-19

Pastor David Ernst

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Sep 17, 2017 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Last Sunday, we talked about the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story our Lord told to explain who our neighbor is. The Law of God says, love your neighbor as yourself. For us, our neighbors are not just members of family and friends and nobody else. Every person in need is our neighbor. In the parable, a man of the Jews fell into the hands of thieves who left him almost dead. A priest and a Levite passed by on one side and did not help him. However, the Samaritan, a foreigner, took him to the inn and paid for his recovery. There was no good relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans, so the point is we must show the love of God without exception, even to our enemies.

In our text for today, we find a Samaritan again. Also, leprous men among whom this Samaritan was one. Leprosy is an ugly disease of the skin. According to the law of Moses, lepers had to live far from healthy people. It was possible for a person to recover from leprosy and in such a case, he was to be examined by the priests in the Temple and declared healthy.

"As Jesus went to Jerusalem, he passed through Samaria and Galilee. And as they entered into a village, ten leprous men met him, and they stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, while they were gone, that they were cleansed. Then one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned, glorifying God with a loud voice; And he fell on his face, and thanked him, and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Are not ten cleansed? And where are the nine? Was there not one who returned and gave glory to God but this stranger? "

The Jews had the whole Word of God until the revelation of Jesus Christ. Then they had more reason to thank and adore Jesus, but they did not. This is the way of the world. In times of trouble and affliction, many seek God for help. But when the problems are over, they forget God. Many times, as believers, we are guilty of this.

But, no matter that most always enjoy the blessings of God without gratitude, God continues to bless everyone because God is love. God loves us. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us on the cross, and by His resurrection to win for us the promise of eternal life. And as the Scriptures say, God sends rain to the righteous and the wicked as well. All receive the good things in this life without merit.

The church must continue to proclaim the Word of God, no matter if many people do not listen. The sheep of God recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. And we have the promise that the Holy Spirit is active in preaching to touch the hearts of all. Preaching is worth the effort even if only a single person receives the forgiveness of God and the promise of eternal life.

The Samaritan leper received pardon from the mouth of Jesus: "Arise, go; your faith has saved you." We have received God's forgiveness from baptism and the sacrament, so we acknowledge that blessing and all other blessings were given by the grace of God. In this we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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