Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The question is this: Do we just need Jesus when things aren’t going our way? Or do we need Him all the time? From day to day, it’s fairly safe to say that most of us probably spare little thought for why we need the Lord. But when we’re in trouble, then we suddenly need Him. And if things work out, we can go back to not really thinking about Him all that much. We work much in the same way as those lepers. Leprosy is terrible. Not only did it destroy the body; it also made the leper unclean. It cut the leper off from civilization. It ruined lives. No wonder these ten lepers wanted Jesus to help! But when He did help them, when their leprosy was gone, they went their way. Only one came back, and it was the Samaritan. He came back to glorify God. He realized that Jesus wasn’t just the guy who cures lepers. He saw that Jesus is the Savior. Jesus tells this one, “Arise. Go. Your faith has saved you.” Jesus has saved you. Get up. Rise from certain death.
Jesus didn’t come to solve every earthly problem you have. He came to give you a true and lasting salvation and eternal life. Jesus didn’t come to make sure your life is easy. He came to save you from your sins. He came to cleanse you of a leprosy that is a lot worse than the flesh-eating kind. He came to cleanse you from the leprosy of sin. He came to overcome the one disease you cannot beat: death. When Jesus tells the Samaritan to get up, it’s like He’s declaring new life. It’s like He’s saying, “You come to me with leprosy, which is a symptom of the sin and curse of death this world is under. But I tell you that I have defeated sin and its curse of death. Now you are truly free—not because you don’t have leprosy anymore, but because your sins are forgiven and you are a child of God, even if you’re from Samaria!” That’s what He says to you, too. By His death and resurrection, Jesus has you covered for sin and death. He has beaten them by His blood and suffering and death and Easter. As He does with the lepers, He tells you, “Arise! Go in peace. Your faith, Your Jesus, has saved you.”
When you were baptized, Jesus says to you, “Arise.” Be alive again. Be rescued from sin and death. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. Now you’re alive. Be raised up. You have beaten death. When you hear His Word and then eat and drink His body and blood, what does He say through His pastors? “Depart in peace.” He says that because your Jesus has saved you. He has taken away your sins and overcome your death and promises to raise you up on the Last Day and give you eternal life. Your problem is not your bills or your health or your marriage or your kids or your job. Your problem is sin, and that has been overcome—not just once, not just for a while, but once and for all and forever. Jesus takes care of it; it has been taken care of for good. That’s why you, like the Samaritan, come back to church: to glorify God for His goodness toward you, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness, His work of healing your body and soul. And what does it mean to give God the glory? Nothing other than to receive the good gifts He has for you. It’s not merely about telling Him “Thank You,” though we do that. To truly give glory to God is to confess that all your good comes from Jesus. And here in His church, the promise is always given: Arise and go. Your faith, your Jesus, has saved you. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.