Luke 17:1-4…Sermon Outline

  1. Greeting and Prayer
  2. Connector
    1. It’s natural for us to stumble over something once in awhile, especially as we grow older.
    2. It’s quite another thing to be intentionally tripped by someone else.
    3. Transition…Stumbling and tripping in the church….How does Christ call us to live together?
  3. God’s Word
    1. Background…A number of random sayings (17:1-10)….Who is Jesus talking to? (disciples – leaders…new/immature)…
    2. Starting in the middle: “Pay Attention” – “Watch out” – “Beware”…This is serious…
    3. Stumbling blocks…two kinds
      1. False teaching – False living…that leads to unbelief (apostasy) (2 Timothy 1:13-14; Revelation 2:14; Malachi 2:8; Matthew 16:23; Matthew 23:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:13; 1 John 2:10)
      2. Christ (1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Peter 2:8)
      3. Watch out…leaders
    4. How to deal with sin?
      1. What is sin?…Ten Commandments (opposing God’s will)…All have sinned…
      2. Rebuke (ἐπιτίμησονepitimēson) …to warn (consequences), instruct (God’s way)
      3. Repent…call to repentance (Luke 5:32)…”if they repent…” (binding the unrepentant – John 20:23)…over and over again
      4. Forgiveness
        1. The mission of the church (John 20:232 Corinthians 5:18-20 – ministry of reconciliation)
        2. An imperative…forgiveness has to be the response to repentance
        3. A miracle:
          1. Forgiveness of sins is one of the miracles of release by which Jesus brings in the new kingdom of salvation (5:20-24; 7:47-50)…but also a stumbling block for many..The act of forgiving sins must be a constant in the Christian community because absolution is how creation is released from its bondage through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.
    5. Sending
      1. Is one of the reasons our community is weak and broken is that we caused others to stumble – have failed to rebuke sin – have failed to repent – and failed to truly believe in the power of Christ’s forgiveness – have led people out of the church rather than into the arms of their Saviour?
      2. While we were yet sinners Christ came into the world calling sinners to repentance….calling us from the cross as he gave his body and blood for the forgiveness of the world.
      3. Today he welcomes sinners to his table – calling you to repentance while extending his body and blood for your forgiveness.
      4. Today he sends us out to be the church – those called to witness and serve with the love of Christ that welcomes sinners, calls them to repentance and blesses them with the miracle of release through Christ’s death and resurrection.
      5. Go to be the people of God in this mission…In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Luke 17:11-19

luke-1711-19Translation

11 And it came to pass while journeying toward Jerusalem, and he was passing through the middle of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And when he was entering into a certain village, ten leprous men met him, who stood some distance away 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy (pity) on us.”

14 When seeing them, he said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

And it happened that while they were going away, they were cleansed. 15 But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned, glorifying (praising) God with a great voice, 16 and he fell (threw himself) on his face at his feet, giving him thanks to him. And he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus, answering, said, “Were not the ten cleansed? The nine – where are they? 18 Were there found none returning in order to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Arise, journey (go your way); your faith has saved you.”

– Translation by Arthur A. Just Jr. (Concordia Commentary: Luke 9:51-24:53)
NIV/ESV comparisons

Textual Notes

11. διὰ μέσο Σαμαρείας καὶ Γαλιλαίας (dia meson Samareias kai Galilaiasbetween Samaria and Galilee)…This could mean “through the middle of,” a north to south movement, or “between,” an east to west movement along the border.

13. Ἐπιστάτα (EpistataMaster)…This is the only time that Jesus is referred in this manner by someone who is not a disciple.

14. ἰδὼν (dōnWhen seeing them)…Jesus responds to the lepers only when he sees them and then sends them to the priests/temple. The same response occurs later on when the leper (Samaritan) who, seeing that he was healed, now goes to Jesus for cleansing.

14. πορεύεσθαι εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ (Poreuthentes epideixate heautous“Go, show yourselves)…This is the same instructions Jesus gives to the leper healed in 5:14.

15. δοξάζων (doxazōnglorifying)…Suggests continuous action.

16. ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον (epesen epi prosōponhe fell (threw himself) on his face)…This was the same response as the leper in 5:12.

16. εὐχαριστῶν (eucharistōngiving him thanks)…Another word suggesting continuous action.

18. δοῦναι δόξαν τῷ θεῷ (dounai doxan Theōin order to give glory to God)…The reason the nine should have returned.

19. Ἀναστὰς πορεύου (Anastas poreuou“Arise, journey)…The Samaritan has been invited on a journey of faith with Jesus – a journey to Jerusalem and the cross.

Source: Concordia Commentary: Luke 9:51-24:53

Commentary

17:11

This is the third notice in Luke’s gospel that Jesus is travelling toward Jerusalem. However, it appears that Jesus has already been to the outskirts of Jerusalem (Bethany – Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1; 12:1-3) once before moving north to the border of Galilee and Samaria.

The “journey” appears over a very brief time, hitting a few locations, but in this section (Luke 17:11-18:34) Jesus seems to be relatively stationary near a Samaritan village, teaching his disciples.

In 17:7-10, Jesus suggests that his disciples will have to suffer as part of their service to their suffering Master. The reference to going to Jerusalem would connect this suffering to the cross. But this time in Samaria would also point toward the ministry they would have in Acts.

17:12-13,19

At the heart of this story is the Samaritan and his response to Jesus for the healing of his leprosy.

This story is framed by a cry for mercy from ten lepers and ends with an invitation to come to the place of ultimate mercy in Christ. The cry for mercy may have begun with a desire for physical healing and restoration to community, but it ends with one coming in worship, seeking salvation. It is in the end that Jesus invites the Samaritan to rise and join him on a journey where he can see for himself the source of salvation and ultimate mercy for all humankind – the cross. In the cross of Christ God brings release (salvation) for all who are bondage to sin, death, and sickness through faith in Christ.

17:14,17-18

What occurs between the cry for mercy and the announcement of salvation through faith is the miracle of cleansing. Jesus sees the lepers and responds to their cry with a command: “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

Beyond what is happening in this story of the Jesus’ encounter with the lepers is the meaning of this story to the early Christian community. This story informs the instruction of new Christians in the early church in four ways:

  1. It reminds new believers that salvation is always an action of God’s – a sign of the in-breaking of God’s kingdom into the world.
  2. Cleansing and new birth is from Jesus and it is Jesus who reaches out in compassion to cleanse, to heal, and to restore people into community.
  3. It is the holiness of Christ that makes sinners right and brings them into the family of God.
  4. But it is the church (being sent to the priests) that confirms God’s saving action in Christ through baptism. Jesus sends the lepers to the priests and to the place of sacrifice to fulfill the Old Testament law (Leviticus 14:1-32), but also to validate the miracle of release from sin.

Unlike in 5:12-16 where another leper is healed immediately, this cleansing happens after they have left Jesus. These lepers do trust that all would be done as Jesus indicated. The sacrifices they would offer would foreshadow Jesus own bloody sacrifice as promised.

But something additional happens. One leper returns to give glory to God in the person of Jesus Christ. Again, this foreshadows the sacrificial death of Christ offered for the sins of the world and the eventual end of temple sacrifice. The irony of this section is that, like the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:33), it is a foreigner who responds in faith and love.

In receiving this foreigner Jesus crosses over the line that the holiness code in Leviticus 12-26 had set up. This holiness code was to meant to set apart Israel from all other nations. Jesus redefines holiness as the Son of God and as the one who will take away the sin of the world through his death on the cross. The holiness of Jesus will be given to all who are baptized into his death and resurrection (Romans 6:1-11; Galatians 3:27-29).

The fact that the nine do not return implies that they are Jews and have not recognized that the kingdom of God has come in Christ. Jesus is the very presence of God and therefore, is also the presence of God’s kingdom. The fact that it is another outcast who sees this reality by faith and not the Jews reinforces the Great Reversal of the kingdom that inverts what one might expect.

17:15,16

The Samaritan’s insight and worship are at the heart of this passage. However, we do not discover that the one who returns is a Samaritan until the very end. Jesus’ own seeing and sending them to be cleansed is connected to the Samaritan’s own seeing and being healed.

The Samaritan’s worship is his confession of faith. He returns, glorifying God, but directs his worship to Jesus as he falls face down at his feet. Luke is helping his own catechumens to see God in Christ, the one who is God’s final sacrifice. Jesus is God in the flesh, the one through whom all are atoned and the one who is worthy of our worship and thanksgiving.

The Samaritan expresses his worship by falling on his face before Jesus. Whether he made it to the temple or not, he sees in Jesus the new temple and confesses his faith about God in Christ through this action. A similar encounter and discussion occurs between Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4:20-26). Jesus wonders why the other nine did not come to the same theological conclusion about who he is as did the Samaritan.

In this encounter Jesus’ own disciples are taught that true faith gives thanks to the one who brings salvation and that such faith changes worldviews as Jesus taught earlier (Luke 17:5-6).

We have two different groups students in this story (catechumens). The Samaritan represents the first group who respond in faith to the word (like the seed planted in fertile ground) and are led into the presence of God in Christ to worship him and to bear fruit (Luke 8:15). The second group are the nine lepers who are the like seeds that fall in rocks. They receive the Word with joy, but have not roots and eventually apostatize (Luke 8:13).

We end with the Samaritan being told by Jesus to arise and “journey.” Faith has sealed his salvation and now he is invited to move with Christ and his band toward Jerusalem and the final cleansing through Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. In the midst of this movement is the Samaritan’s ongoing thanksgiving which leads us to also voice of the church’s thanksgiving in the Eucharist (word comes from the Greek verb for “giving thanks”). In the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper), the church prostrates itself before the crucified and risen Christ, who gives his body and blood in bread and wine to cleanse all who come in faith. It is here that we encounter the kingdom, for the kingdom is wherever the King is, and the King is in his church,

Resources

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Genesis 1

The Creation of the World

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Key Concepts

  • God is the creator of all that exists.
  • The Trinity is witnessed as God (Father), the Spirit hovering and the Word (Christ) spoken.
  • God’s word is powerful: when God speaks what does not exist comes into existence.
  • God’s blessing is that life can be reproduced.
  • Humanity has been created in the image of God – male and female.
  • Humanity as been brought into existence to be stewards of creation so that life is maintained.
  • All that God created was good – just the way it was intended to be.

Textual Notes

1.1 In the beginning. Some critical scholars translate the Hebrew text here so as to deny the important biblical teaching that God created the world out of nothing [ex nihilo] and to instead, argue that matter is eternal. The Bible affirms that God created the world (Ps 90: 2; Jer 10: 16) and that He created it out of nothing through Jesus Christ (Rm 4: 17; Heb 1: 2).

1:1 created. (Hebrew בָּרָ֣אbā·rā)…This word is never used with a subject other than God in the Old Testament. God alone has the power to create (bring into existence from nothing). Humans are merely innovators, taking what has already been created and rearranging it. That God alone is the Creator of all that exists affirms that He is the only true God.

1:1 the heavens and the earth. These terms together refer to the whole of God’s creation, the details of which follow. Throughout ch 1, “heavens” refers to the sky and the universe beyond the boundaries of the earth and does not refer to where God exists.

Commentary

God’s creation of the world is presented in three stages: 1) the announcement of the creation of matter out of nothingness (1: 1– 2); 2) the ordering of creation (days 1 and 2, 1: 3– 8); and 3) the filling of creation (days 3 through 6, 1: 9– 31). God fills creation in two steps: inanimate objects first (days 3 and 4, 1: 9– 19), then animate beings (days 5 and 6, 1: 20– 31). The account concludes with God’s rest on the seventh day (2: 1– 3).

God’s first act, the creation, is an act of grace. God acts freely to reflect His character, making the world “very good” (1: 31). Even after the fall and the coming of sin, much of the goodness that God built into creation remains. Philosophers debate why evil exists, and people ask how a good God could allow bad things to happen. But it is not the existence of evil and suffering that requires an explanation; it is the existence of goodness and beauty and love that is most remarkable. A world without God cannot explain such things. The persistence of goodness reminds us of what we have lost, but it also offers us a glimpse of God’s grace and the everlasting glory to which God has called us through Christ.

Resources

  • The Lutheran Study Bible, Concordia Publishing House.
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