Thursday, April 15, 2021

2021.04.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 17:11–19

Read Luke 17:11–19

Questions from the Scripture text: Where was Jesus going (Luke 17:11)? Through where did He pass? What does He enter in Luke 17:12? Who meet him there? Where did they stand? What did they lift up (Luke 17:13)? What did they call Jesus? What did they ask Him to do? What does Jesus tell them to do when He sees them (Luke 17:14)? What happened as they went? What did one of them see (Luke 17:15)? Where did he go? What did he do with a loud voice? Upon what did he fall (Luke 17:16)? Where? What did he do there? What was his ethnicity? What three questions does Jesus ask in Luke 17:17-18? What does He say this one has done (verse 18)? What does He call him? What does Jesus tell the Samaritan to do (Luke 17:19a)? What does He say has saved (literally) him (verse 19b)?

The evangelist gives us a surprise about the one grateful leper at the end of Luke 17:15. “And he was a Samaritan.” Many commentators rightly note that this fits with Luke’s theme of the kingdom gathering in “the least of these.” Of the four gospels, it is especially through Luke that the Holy Spirit highlights women, foreigners, and other “unacceptables” coming into the kingdom. 

In fact the phrase at the end of Luke 17:19 “your faith has saved you” (literally) appears in Luke here, Luke 7:50 (a woman who was a “sinner”), Luke 8:48 (a woman unclean for 12 years from a blood flow), and Luke 18:42 (a blind beggar that everyone had tried to shut up). All “unacceptables.”

It seems that Luke is hinting at that by holding back the ethnic info at first. Why include that he’s a Samaritan? It doesn’t matter that much if you’re a leper. It didn’t matter to the other nine. Pharisees and priests can bother to steer clear of Samaritans. But if you’re all lepers, what’s the use?

Here is a key to squashing our wicked despising of people from other classes, nations, and languages. Seeing our common sinfulness and misery in Adam reduces those differences to the status of inconsequential.

Of course, while their temporary and superficial acceptance of one another can put us to shame, it did them no ultimate good. Even being cured of their leprosy did not do them lasting good. Nine of them didn’t return to Jesus (Luke 17:15a). Nine of them failed to give glory to God (verse 15b, Luke 17:18b). 

If failing to glorify Him for what you see in the creation is so damning in Romans 1:21, what does it say when you fail to repent and give glory to God even after receiving temporary benefits from encounters with Jesus? The unconverted church member who has had “moments with Jesus,” and good sermons, and fellowship with the saints is under a greater condemnation than the sexually abominable worldlings of the second half of Romans 1.

So, while we are rightly rebuked that leper Jews and leper Samaritans were able to find some common ground, when so many Christians don’t… let us not make the mistake of thinking that when the wicked and miserable join hands that there is something redemptive occurring. God be praised for every restraint of every sin! But only one of these lepers was saved. 

Being a leper doesn’t save you. Enjoying Jesus’s benefits doesn’t save you. Overcoming ethnic/class division doesn’t save you. Only faith saves you. Luke 17:19 applied to only one of these lepers.

And this is why we need to stick with the literal translation of the phrase, “Your faith has saved you.” All ten were made well. Only one returned. Only one glorified God with a loud voice. Only one fell at Jesus’s feet—finally able to come near. Only one gave Jesus thanks. This is what faith-saved people do. I wonder if those things are true of you. Has your faith saved you?

Have you turned your life away from everything else to turn it totally to Jesus? How intensely do you glorify God in every part of life—when it’s with a voice, how loudly do you feel like shouting or singing His glory? Have you fallen at Jesus’s feet, taking advantage of being able to come near by paying homage? Have you thanked Him?

Suggested Songs: ARP72C “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72A “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

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