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An invitation, not a farewell

Luke 17:11-19

Pastor David Ernst

14th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Sep 13, 2020 

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

Jesus did not travel to Jerusalem by the shortest route, but traveled by easy stages along the border between Galilee and Samaria.

ďAnd when he entered a village, ten lepers came to meet him, and they stood in the distance and raised their voices, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said to them: Go, show yourselves to the priests. "

By observing the strict rule regarding infection, they did not draw near to Christ, but kept at a distance, close enough, however, that their voices could be heard. It was very much like our situation today, when those infected with the COVID-19 must avoid contact with those not infected. We also obey the laws meant to control the spread of the virus by wearing facemasks and maintaining our distance from strangers.

Jesus, Lord, have mercy on us! That was a prayer of faith. They knew Jesus through the wonderful stories that had been told about him.

In the Law of Moses it was ordered that people who were supposed to be cured of the terrible disease of leprosy or who had actually been cured, should present themselves to one of the priests in the temple. Because if they had been cured of their disease, they were required to bring certain prescribed sacrifices related to their purification. Jesus did not directly heal the ten, so as not to unduly arouse the opposition of the priests, because they would have had the power, if they had wanted, to declare that the men were still lepers. . Jesus combined tact and discretion with kindness and mercy. Therefore, it happened that the men were cleansed after they had left His presence, as they made their way to the Temple.

ďAnd it came to pass that as they went, they were cleansed. Then one of them, seeing that he had been healed, returned, glorifying God with a loud voice; and fell on his face at his feet, thanking him; and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said: Weren't there ten who were cleansed? And where are the nine? Was there no one who returned and gave glory to God but this stranger? "

Only one, seeing the miracle that had been done in his case, felt the need to go back and thank the Healer. Also, this man was a Samaritan. a member of the race that was despised by the Jews and Gentiles alike. By His comment, Jesus emphasized again that salvation is for all nations, not just the blood descendants of Abraham.

"And he said, Get up, go; your faith has saved you. "

The one who returned received a blessing the others did not receive. The promise of eternal life through faith. And something else. The word translated go is the same as the one translated go in verse 14. Poreuomai means to begin your journey to your destination, or to follow a guide. In verse 14, the lepers were directed to a destination, the Temple in Jerusalem. At this time, the Samaritan was directed to begin his pilgrimage to eternal life. Perhaps to follow Jesus, although the Scriptures do not mention this man again among the disciples. Anyway, it wasn't a goodbye, like, "Get away from me" or "Bye." Rather, it was an invitation to continue on the path of Christ.

Well, the gifts of God that we have received from Him through grace throughout our lives amount to much more than healing a bodily disease. We have received in baptism, and are continually receiving, the riches of God's undeserved love and mercy Sunday after Sunday in the Word and the Lord's Supper, and day after day in our prayers and devotionals at home.

We are not lepers, but by faith we are healed of the contamination of sin. The Lord has also told us, "Get up, go!" Our journey to eternal life awaits us.

May the peace that passes all understanding be with you. Amen.

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