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Generous! Crazy Generous!

November 28, 2013

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Thanksgiving Eve                                             Trinity Lutheran Church

27 November 2013                                            Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

Luke 17:11-19

 

He’s on His way to Jerusalem.  Resolutely going there.  To do what Messiah is supposed to do.  Don’t get in His way.  Don’t try to stop Him.  Peter tried.  Remember?  “Never, Lord!  I won’t let you go there to do a Good Friday.” And Jesus called the apostle “Satan” for trying to put a roadblock on His way to Jerusalem, (Matthew 16:22).

 

Now as He’s decisively traveling through a village there’s quite a commotion.  A rumpus.  A clamor.  Who are they?  Hecklers?  They’re shouting.  No, they’re screaming.  At who?  At the Christ/Messiah — Jesus!  Can you make out what they’re shouting?  I think it’s:  “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”   Yes, that’s it.

 

Now we know why they are yelling.  Torn clothes.  Hair unkempt.  Half of their faces covered. They’re outcasts.  Segregated.  Isolated.  Set apart.  They are not allowed to participate in society.  No church.  No family.  No job.  No going out to eat.  Not even Jimmy Johns would dare to pull a freaky fast delivery.  After all, they are infected and dying from the highly contagious flesh eating disease called leprosy.

 

Jesus, don’t let these zombie-like loser nothings distract you. No need to get any closer.  You can’t take the chance to catch their disease and become an outcast too!  So ignore them.  They should be shouting “Unclean!  Unclean!”  They’re not worth it.  And you’ve got Messiah work to do.  A Jerusalem to do. Jerusalem!  Remember?

 

Incredibly, Jesus does the unthinkable.  The Creator comes to and speaks to His damaged and ruined creatures.  “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  You do that only when you’re healed.  Only when the leprosy is gone.  And sure enough as they hoof it all ten have been healed.  No leprosy.  Cured!  Totally!  Restored!  From dead nothings to new creations!  Because the Creator has spoken.  And His Word does and gives what it says.  Just like at the beginning.

 

Now that’s just crazy, isn’t it?  Crazy generous!  Creator-Messiah-Jesus gets within shouting distance, takes the time, mercies them, and heals them. All ten.  They’re all precious to Him.

 

Ten, of course, is the number of completeness in the Bible.  This healing of “ten” is a miniature of what the Christ’s Good Friday Jerusalem is all about – a COMPLETE healing or restoring of his fallen and as good as dead creation.  Through the shedding of His divine Blood that stains the cross and covers the earth.  Through the crucifixion and dying of His divine Body as THE sacrifice that atones for the sin of every sinner and all sin’s deadly consequences.  “God so loved the WORLD, that He gave …” (John 3:16).

 

Crazy!  Crazy generous!  Especially when you see that only one returns.  The other nine have no use for Jesus.  Only one has any use for Jesus and he’s a half-breed, hated Samaritan.  Shouting just as loudly as before.   Throws himself at Jesus’ feet.  Uses his voice to praise God and give a profound thanks, a great thanksgiving or eucharist, to Jesus for of His crazy-generous merciful giving.

 

That’s what faith does.  Faith in Jesus praises Him as God and thanks Him for His gifts.  Even from a Samaritan.  A foreigner.

 

That’s when Jesus speaks again.  It’s a profound promise.  Listen.  “Get up and go.  Your faith has saved you.”

 

Double bonus round!  After all, with Jesus there’s always more.  More than you could ever imagine.  Not only is the Samaritan physically healed, but now He is saved.  He’s been salvation-ed.  By Jesus His Creator and Redeemer.  From eternal death.  From the damnation of hell.  He’s now given eternal life and heaven.

 

Faith saves this Samaritan sinner because faith looks outside of himself to Jesus the Achiever and Giver of salvation!  The Samaritan is nothing.  But Jesus is everything!  So, “arise and go,” Jesus declares.  And then the Creator and Redeemer’s guarantee:  “Your faith IN ME has saved you!”

 

If only Jesus would say that to me … or to you … sin-infected and as good as dead sinners.  Because of our sin we’ve isolated ourselves from God.  A self-inflicted segregation.  Bound ourselves with sin’s paycheck:  death.  Become God’s enemies and worthy of His wrath and condemnation. Would He now dare to be as merciful and generous — crazy generous to you?  Or to me?

 

Of course!  Jesus’ promise to you and me, lost and condemned creatures, is:  “He who believes and is baptized will be … SAVED,” (Mark 16:16).  Picking up on that divine promise the apostle Paul proclaims that God “saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5).  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life … Whoever believes in him is not condemned,” (John 3:16, 18).  “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life,” (John 5:24).

 

His promises give what they say.  Without any merit or worthiness in you.  Jesus alone saves sinners.  Faith saves only because faith is given Jesus — the resolutely going to Jerusalem Good Friday Jesus.  On the cross Holy One Jesus is numbered with the transgressors.  Made to be sin (2 Corinthians 5) and cursed (Galatians 3) as He carried and answered for all sin.  Yours.  Mine.  The world’s.  Your sin isn’t yours anymore.  Jesus took it.  All of it.  Covered it and atoned for it by His sacrificial, crucified, and shed Blood that flowed from His Body as it hung suspended on the Tree.  And you’ve been baptized into that saving-sinners-death (Romans 6).

 

Brothers and sisters, the next time you go the Lord’s Supper this same Jesus comes to you.  To mercy you! His Calvary death counts FOR YOU.  With His Good Friday Body and Blood for you to eat and drink with the bread and wine, His categorical promise is that all your sin is forgiven.  “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  Those are His words.  Divine words!  He does and gives what He says:  TO AND FOR YOU.  Given His forgiveness you have life and salvation.  That’s what His forgiveness gives.  When you hear Christ’s words in the Sacrament it’s the same thing that Jesus said to the cleansed, restored and redeemed Samaritan:  “Arise and go.  Your faith in Me and My promise has saved you.”

 

Now let’s praise and thank Him too!  For His crazy-generous mercy!  Have a happy Thanksgiving!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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