"Rise and go your way; your faith has saved you." A Meditation on Luke 17:19

By Rev. Eric Brown

“Rise and go your way; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)

I feel bad for how we treat the other nine lepers. Ten lepers get healed, but only one comes back to praising God and thanking Jesus, and from there we have gotten thousands of finger wagging sermons telling us to be more thankful like the good leper. But here's the thing we forget. Jesus told them to go to the priest, and they are walking to the priests, and only then are they healed. All ten of them hear Jesus tell them to go, and they went, even BEFORE they were healed. That's pretty cool. 

But in the midst of all the excitement upon seeing their healing, a healing that takes place then Jesus is off behind them and all their families and loved ones are in front of them, only one thinks to turn back and praise God. And so often we want to categorize the lepers, but the 9 in the bad column and the 1 in the good, but that misses the point. It's not about whether the lepers are good or bad, the point is how good Jesus is.

The one comes back to Jesus, and he praises God. And Jesus notes that there's just one – but then He shrugs and looks at the fellow there and says, “Rise and go your way; your faith has saved you.” Rise, stand, go off and enjoy this blessing – because I, Christ Jesus, the One you have faith in, have saved you. And I delight in giving you blessings.

The Leper went to Church. He was gathered to the presence of Christ, and in the midst of his praises, the leper heard the Word of Jesus proclaimed. Life and salvation were given – not just healing of a disease for a lifetime, but salvation unto everlasting life.

God gives blessings. It's what He delights in doing. And if when you go to Church, you aren't earning more earthly blessings or what have you. Rather this – when you come into God's presence, when you hear His Word, receive His Supper, you are given forgiveness and life and salvation over and over again. You are made to understand just how great a giver Jesus. You can't earn more – Jesus has done it all already for you. And we hear that, and then we rise and go and enjoy the blessings He gives in this life, even until the day Jesus returns and we are raised to life everlasting. This is Jesus' great love for you.

Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.

Created: September 21st, 2017