Saturday, 12 October 2013

Faith & Thanksgiving

Luke 17:11-21 8, 10 Allesley  16/10/13 “Faith & Thanksgiving”

INTRO: It doesn't matter where you have come from – it matters where you go to.
Healthy or Leper, Jew or Samaritan, Native or Immigrant, Saint or Sinner. Old hand or newcomer.
The same.

Faith and trust.
Ten lepers waylay Jesus on the edge of a village that they must not enter. They shout – from a safe distance - “Jesus, master, have mercy on us”. A good prayer when your trouble is so obvious and your expectation perhaps a bit thin or when you feel unworthy to ask – or a bit far away from God. Some a Jews, but not all of them. It doesn't matter where they come from. But where they come to:-
JESUS - a name, face to face, they come to Him, to what He is doing.
MASTER – they acknowledge His authority over them.
MERCY – they stand in the way of GRACE. Self abandonment. Undeserved request. Not fit – but.....
Jesus has compassion. He does pray for their healing.
1.What will you do with ten lepers, ten aids victims, ten asylum seekers, ten prostitutes?
2. What will you do with your disease, your unworthiness, your problem?
3. Can we dare to hope that this God who is our creator as Father, our redeemer as Son, our comforter as Holy Spirit – will listen to us?

Faith and obedience.
Jesus says “Go and show yourself to the priests” - He uses their understanding of Levitical ceremonial Law, maybe it offers psychosomatic help to the sufferer but its also a challenge to obey and risk official refusal. In 2 Kings 5:10, when Naaman the Syrian was told by Elisha to “go and wash in the Jordan” he was put out “Haven’t we got better rivers at home to wash in?” but obedience brought results. Here Jesus is applying the procedure set out in the law for cured lepers. They had to risk obedience. Some might know the law, some don't. It doesn't matter where they come from. But where they come to:-
JESUS – obeying when Jesus is there is one thing, what about when you are back in the real world?
MASTER – do you see yourself as a servant, one under authority – or is He primarily there to care for you? For we will often hear His voice challenging us: Love one another, wash the feet, feed my lambs....
MERCY – obedience to Jesus might lead you into confrontation or challenge. Will your pride allow you to trust Him enough to keep trying once you have failed – and failed again – like Peter?
All of the ten are healed. They all trusted Him enough to ask. They were all obedient to what he says. They all exercise faith however doubtful they felt..
When we come to Jesus in faith then it is much more than a feeling of confidence, it is a commitment to obedience.

Faith and thanksgiving.
Several lessons hide here. Luke is keen to show that Christian faith is universal – the lesson of the Samaritan leper. Jesus approves the leper’s thanksgiving and points to the failure of contemporary Jewish ritual and practice and to the superseding of these by His gospel. Jesus says “Your faith has made you well”, it is the man’s faith in Jesus which is decisive. His faith is evidenced not only in the removal of his disease, but because his overwhelming urge is to come to Jesus in thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an exercise in faith. Not everyone remembers to give thanks it seems. Sometimes its as if people can look down on Jesus, lying on the cross, with nails piercing his hands, a crown of thorns on his hear, in agony and say “Yes Lord. That's all very well. But if you really loved me you'd give me a job, a wife, a child, a friend, healing, faith, peace.....” Where are you coming from today?
It doesn't matter where we come from. But where we come to:-
JESUS – give Jesus His due always. Jesus says “The Kingdom of God is within you” Luke 17:21. Where those rivers of living water flow. The indwelling spirit of Jesus. Can we live in the daily, conscious, thankful knowledge that Jesus, the King, is within me?
MASTER– a servant enters the master's joy. Jesus’ joy is to see the Kingdom coming. He enjoys the healing of the ten. He enjoys the response of the leper! He enjoys our healing and our thanksgiving too. As Christians we will only be truly happy when we are pleasing our Lord.
MERCY – the Samaritan knows that he is not worthy of this healing. He's an outsider twice over. Stranger and Unclean. He has not right to this healing. He only relies upon the mercy of Jesus. And he is never to be disappointed. What does Jesus ask of him in return? Absolutely nothing. “Arise. Go your way.” Jesus makes no claim on his life. So how much do you think he would want to give him?

All of it! Wouldn't we? I hope I would. I hope I will. Jesus, Master, Have Mercy on me.

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