Thank You Jesus!
Thanksgiving Eve Trinity Lutheran Church
25 November 2015 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
“‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’”
Will He? After all, the ones who cry for mercy are quarantined. Segregated. Not part of the worshipping community. They are unclean because parts of their body are rotting. Dying. They have leprosy.
“‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’” What will He do? Will pure and holy Lord have anything to with them? Yes, He does. He heals them. All of them. All ten of them. Ten is a big number in the Bible. It is the number of completeness. He heals the complete lot of them. Just like Jesus on Good Friday dies for the whole world. Incredible. The generosity of Jesus. Mind blowing.
Wait. There’s more. “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.”
One in ten. Were not all ten cleansed? Were not all ten given to by the Lord Jesus? Of course. Where are the nine others? Only a remnant, the Samaritan, the foreigner, praises God and is a disciple now of Jesus.
Here now we get to the heart of the text. It is the reason why the Samaritan returns, gives thanks and praises God. It is FAITH! Faith in Jesus. The Samaritan depends totally on Jesus. Jesus is the Savior and the Samaritan believes it. The Samaritan hangs on to Jesus. A hanger on to Jesus he is! Nothing will get in the way of the Samaritan’s total reliance on Jesus. Jesus is everything. He believes that Jesus is God FOR HIM!
So Jesus says to him: “‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’” Faith made him well physically and spiritually. Faith saves. Faith saves from sin and hell because faith clings not to itself but only to Jesus. The object of faith if it is true faith always relies only on Jesus. Faith never looks at itself. Faith continually has its undivided on Jesus.
It is the nature of faith in Jesus to live outside oneself. To think of others. To deny oneself in order to consider and to love others (Luke 17:1-2). It is the nature of faith in Jesus to forgive those that sin against you (Luke 17:3-4). It is the nature of faith in Jesus to serve Him (Luke 17:7-10). So it is the nature of faith to give thanks and praise to Jesus like the Samaritan. St. Paul speaks of our father of faith, Abraham. this way in Romans 4:20: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.”
Well, the common tragedy of leprosy united the Samaritan with nine Jews in their misery. However, the Samaritan’s faith in Good Friday Jesus unites him to Jesus for salvation. The Samaritan’s faith in Jesus also incorporates him into the church, the new Israel of God, that little band of believers all over the world, while the nine Jews who do not believe in Jesus and who do not give Jesus thanks are excluded. The Samaritan reminds me of the time when Jesus marveled at the Roman centurion’s faith. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Jesus declared: “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel, have I found such faith.” The soldier believed. Most of Israel did not. So Jesus also said: “I tell you, many will come from east and west to recline at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom [Israel] will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (Matthew 8:5-13).
“Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God?” Jesus laments the unbelief and ingratitude of His people represented by the nine lepers. Jesus suffers Himself to be rejected. His divine love takes the enormous risk of being betrayed and rejected. Rejection of Jesus in unbelief ends hellaciously.
So, this story is a warning to you. Don’t blow off Jesus. The worst thing that can happen to you is for Jesus to lament over you on the Last Day with these words. “Did I not die for you on the cross? Did I not cleanse you from all your sin in Holy Baptism? Why do you never return to me? What was so important in your life that kept you from Me? What is it that you would not depend on me? Why would you not sit at My feet as My disciple in order to eat and drink my Good Friday given-into-death-for-your-salvation-body-and-blood, give thanks (a Eucharist –the sacrifice of thanksgiving [Ps. 116]), praise and glory to Me? Why, when you had every opportunity in your life to worship Me and receive salvation from Me, you chose not to do so? I don’t know you. Depart from Me.”
Tonight, Jesus would lead you to repentance AND faith. Faith in Him! Before it’s too late. Brothers and sisters, it’s time. Time to repent and believe. Time to turn from your sin – turn your back on all your false gods that demand your attention 24-7-365 — and return to Jesus who died on the cross for your salvation. Jesus alone is the Savior. All your sin is His. He answered for it. All His holiness and purity is yours. The divine blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin! You are forgiven. Heaven is yours.
As you believe in Jesus – so you have – everything that He gives and promises. Now, in a few moments, let’s arise and do what comes naturally to disciples of Jesus, the remnant that believes in Him, those who have been cleansed by His Good Friday Blood. It is time to pray, praise and give thanks to Jesus. Even more depending on Him.
In the Name of Jesus.