Are You the One? A sermon on Luke 17
Are you the one?
† I.H.S. †
May the love of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be so evident in your life, that you have to give Him thanks!
Are you the one?
A friend of mine asked a bunch of his preacher friends if it was possible to preach the on the gospel reading in a way that praised the man who offered thanks, without making the other nine look bad.
I considered his words as I was completing the sermon yesterday. The question impacted me enough to change up the sermon to answer it.
I don’t think you can speak of what the 1 experienced, without looking at what the 9 would miss out on, because they didn’t recognize Jesus working in their lives.
And that is the critical lesson for this day. Will you be the one whose faith will see them saved?
Or will you be the like the nine, who Jesus talked about when He said, “Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
We need to be like the 1, and not the 9. We need more than a rescue from a real and present trauma.
We need to know the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, enough to see what He is doing, and value Him and His role in our life…
Law–we need healing—from sin, of memories, physical, mental, spiritual
Like many churches, this gather of lepers started out right. They gathered together to offer each other comfort and support during trauma—and leprosy was a horrid trauma they had in common.
They even reached out together to find help. I am pretty sure that Jesus was not the first rabbi they approached, begging for some assistance, any assistance.
Not sure they knew healing was in the offer…
In the same way, the church, this church, needs healings to happen. There is no doubt, and we cry out “Lord, have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy!”
But what do we mean by that?
Mercy, what we call compassion which compels action to address what?
That is part of the question.
I don’t know if they were asking for financial assistance or healing, for someone to bring them food and water or take messages to their loved ones. All were things that they struggled with, cut off from the world by their disease.
And the cry for compassion – how many times had it gone unheard, never mind unanswered?
How many times have our cries for help gone unanswered by others, as we have tried to deal with those things that afflict us?
I need to be clear – their trauma wasn’t the issue here, nor were they looking for some compassionate act… those are the things the church does for each other, as we cope with our brokenness.
That part is all well and good – and they even reached out to a Rabbi—a man everyone said taught about God’s love.
So where did their sin come in?
Jesus says – Go.. for us—as we are going – we can begin to recognize the healing
The separation occurs, as they all obey Jesus – to go show themselves to the priests… and as their bodies are made healthy…
All good so far—all great so far!
Can you imagine—if all the cancer and heart disease and arthritis was healed in our church tomorrow? Would we be excited?
Would we be off like a rocket to celebrate? To show everyone how healthy we were? I am not even sure there is a sin by action in this! Nothing they did was wrong…
Remember that sin isn’t just what we do, say or think…
It is also what we fail to do..
In this case, their sin was not recognizing God in their midst. They didn’t make the connection between heir healing and the presence of God, and so didn’t think about how they were healed…
Somehow, the Samaritan made the connection. He realized this could only be God that would make this difference in his life.
He saw God – and realized God’s compassion—and had to go back…
He had to praise and show God that he valued what God was doing in his life. That is what mattered. The relationship Jesus initiated by responding to a cry for compassion—that meant more to this man than the very healing he needed…
A relationship that Jesus acknowledges—when He tells the man stand up — your faith has SAVED YOU. Not just healed you – that is one word, this is the word for salvation, deliverance.
This is the difference—the nine had a good desire and a good request! Nothing wrong there.
But they missed it, the chance to know the love of God that makes more of a difference. Nine miss it—one sees it—and glorifies God
It probably is a good thing to define what it means to glorify something, or someone. It means to recognize the value of the thing or person that far exceeds anything else..
That is what the Samaritan, the odd man out of a group of odd men out realized. The love show to him, while he was cleansed of leprosy was something he needed more of..
And it was all his.
et’s come back and give thanks – and realize we are saved not just healed as we trust in Him.
We haven’t been cleansed of leprosy, but we’ve been cleansed of our sin.
Think on that again…they sin that would kill you spiritually, that would cause your heart and soul to rot, God cleansed you of…but for one reason.. that you would come to treasure your relationship with Him, as much as He treasures His relationship with you…
Which is why we are here… to fall to our knees, and share in Christ’s body and blood, treasuring God’s work in us, kowing it was His work.. in us. And trying to struggle out words of thanks.
For we dwell in His peace, that passes all understanding – in which we are guarded by Christ himself. AMEN!