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Absolution as God\'s gift

Luke 17:11-109

Pastor David Ernst

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

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Sun, Sep 5, 2021 

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

Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem not by the shortest route, but by easy stages along the border between Galilee and Samaria. Upon entering a certain village, ten lepers stood in the distance and shouted, "Jesus, Teacher, have mercy on us!"

Leprosy is a deadly and highly contagious skin disease. If a person had leprosy he became an outcast. By observing the strict rule regarding infection, they did not draw close to Christ, but kept at a distance, close enough, however, for their voices to be heard. And they called in unison, to increase the likelihood of his hearing their prayer,

Notice, they called Jesus, "Teacher," not "Son of David," a messianic title. At that time, they did not recognize Jesus as the Savior from their sins. Perhaps they came to know Jesus through the wonderful miracle stories that had been told about him.

Jesus, seeing them, ordered them to present themselves to the priests. The law of Moses commanded that people who were supposedly cured of leprosy should report to one of the priests on duty at the Temple. If they had been cured of their disease, they were to bring certain prescribed sacrifices related to their cleansing, according to Leviticus 13: 2 and 14: 2. Jesus did not come to deny the law of Moses, but to fulfill it.

At the time the ten were cleansed, the nine Jews were evidently concerned only with what the priests would say. They were forbidden to approach other people before a priest declared them clean. They did not return to give thanks to Jesus, however, God did not withdraw the gift of health. They received the reward of the law.

But the Samaritan, a member of the race who was despised by Jews and Galileans, at that time recalled that the healing of the sick was prophesied as a sign of the coming Messiah. Then he “returned he, glorifying God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at his feet, thanking him. " He knew that he was not healed by his own merits, but only by the grace of God.

The healing of physical diseases was a sign of the Messiah because he who has the authority to heal physical diseases has the power over spiritual disease, that is, sin.

The blessings of God that we have received from him through grace throughout our lives amount to much more than a cleansing of leprosy or other physical illness. We have received and are continually receiving the riches of God's undeserved love and mercy. We speak of common grace, the blessings of physical health, also food and drink, clothing, footwear, home, work, good government, peace, good friends and neighbors, and everything else that we ask for when we ask for "daily bread. Give it to us today ”. We recognize that God gives bread daily, without our supplication, even to all the wicked, but with this request we ask that he make us recognize this and receive our daily bread with gratitude.

Also, on the cross Jesus paid the debt of all humanity. All are declared righteous by the blood of Jesus. However, only by baptismal faith do we receive the benefits of Christ's sacrifice. In the water of baptism the new life in the Holy Spirit begins. As Saint Paul says in our epistle (Galatians 5: 16-24) he who walks in the Spirit and is prompted and guided by the Spirit will consider the will of God contained in the Law as the great ideal of a sanctified life and, therefore Therefore, he will strive to live up to this ideal, not because of the coercion of the Law, not out of fear of punishment, not in the hope of reward or of gaining salvation, but because it is his greatest joy and desire to do what he pleases. to his heavenly Father.

But, the sinful nature, or old Adam, lasts until physical death. So in the heart of every Christian there is a continual battle, based on an irreconcilable antagonism between the spirit and the flesh, between the new and the old. Furthermore, many people have come to faith, they have had the principle of faith in their hearts, they have learned to pray in trouble, to trust in God's help; but then the same person, out of ingratitude, has suffocated the plant of spiritual life. Faith for a time, followed by a setback, results in loss of faith and also of God's mercy. Only enduring and grateful faith will bring lasting help and save a person body and soul.

For this reason, our Lord teaches us to ask in the Our Father, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Saint John also says in his first letter, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ”(1 John: 5-9).

Only the Samaritan heard the words, "Get up, go; your faith has saved you."

The confession has two parts. The first is the confession of our sins and the second is receiving absolution from the pastor as God Himself. Before God and in public confession, one must plead guilty to all sins, even those we ignore, just as we do in the Our Father. Before our neighbor we must confess all the sins that we have committed against him. Before the pastor in private, we can confess those sins that we know and feel in our hearts, especially those that torment us.

In each case, the promise of forgiveness is the same. In that, we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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