Lord, cleanse us and lead us to live and to praise You. Amen.
Text: Luke 17:11-19
Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
All of us are lepers from birth. “Can a clean person come from an unclean one?” But we who live here in the Church with the Word and Sacraments are also all cleansed, and if we let leprosy get the upper hand again, the Lord is near so that we can cry out to Him: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” All who see that they are unclean and feel that they are sick also cry out for help. Then the Lord says: “Go and be cleansed; go and believe My Word, believe in the cleansing power of My blood, and you are clean! You can come confidently with My holy people, sit at My Supper, and appear before My Father in heaven.” We must do just as these ten who went at the Lord’s word before they saw they were clean. They went in faith, believed His Word, trusted that they would be cleansed, because He said it. They went to show themselves as clean, while they still saw and felt their uncleanness; we should do that also. All who see their sin and feel themselves to be sick and poor, lost and condemned, should hear the Lord’s word: “I have cleansed you with the washing of water in the Word … You are clean through the Word that I have spoken to you.” And they should go and believe the Word, and they are cleansed indeed. They are received in grace with God, are justified, have forgiveness, and no one can accuse or condemn them. Let all the Jewish priests and Jesus’ worst enemies, let all the faithful and all the wicked, all spirits and all angels, see someone who believes this word from the Lord: “I have cleansed you with water and blood; you are clean.” And they shall confess that it is true; for as the mouth of the Lord speaks, so it is, and whoever believes has it.
Then you should go and thank Him. Only in this way can you preserve your purity; only with Jesus can the cleansed remain clean. The nine are to warn us, and the one is to encourage us. Keep coming back to the Savior again and again, and thank Him! Never forget what He has done for you! There are indeed not many who forget to give thanks as soon as they are cleansed; but when one has been nourished in grace for a longer time, it becomes commonplace, and it is easy to forget to praise the Lord. Therefore it is so very necessary that you see your sin ever more clearly, and eagerly and always feel how wonderful it is to receive forgiveness. Never, never let Jesus’ blood or the precious washing of Baptism become insignificant to you, and never neglect giving thanks for them. Always sing a new song for the old grace of God, which is ever new, yes, ever greater and greater, ever fresher and richer! “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psa 103:1-4). Happy child of God, praise the Lord now, in this hour and in the next hour, today, tonight, tomorrow, constantly, as long as you live. Fall down at Jesus’ feet with thanksgiving forever. It is His will and your salvation; Satan cannot hinder it!
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus. You atoned for all my sin with Your holy and precious blood! You are greatly to be praised for the saving Word of the Gospel, for the cleansing water of Baptism, and for the healing food of the Holy Supper! You are greatly to be praised for the grace of the Spirit who kindled in my soul the spark of faith and created a new, holy life within. Guard my faith, and increase it, and let nothing lead me away from You, the only One in my soul in time and eternity. Amen.
My soul, now bless thy Maker!
Let all within me bless His name
Who maketh thee partaker
Of mercies more than I dare claim.
Forget Him not whose meekness
Still bears with all thy sin,
Who healeth all thy weakness,
Renews thy life within;
Whose grace and care are endless
And saved thee through the past;
Who leaves no sufferer friendless
But rights the wronged at last.
He shows to man His treasure
Of judgment, truth, and righteousness,
His love beyond all measure,
His yearning pity o’er distress,
Nor treats us as we merit,
But lays His anger by.
The humble, contrite spirit
Finds His compassion nigh;
And high as heav’n above us,
As break from close of day,
So far, since He doth love us,
He puts our sins away.
Gramann: My soul, now bless thy Maker L 77:1-2 ELH 456:1-2 tr. C. Winkworth;
tune: Nun lob, mein Seel