Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. This morning we meditate on the Gospel Lesson previously read.
Those of you who are of my generation might remember Norm Macdonald. He was a regular on Saturday Night Live when I was growing up, in fact he was the one who anchored Weekend Update, the “news” section of the show, for a number of years. He was known for his dry and wry sense of humor and his nasally voice. Well, I found out on Facebook this week that he died and that apparently he had professed to be a Christian. I hadn’t heard that before, so I looked up what he had said about this, and didn’t find much. However, I did find an article that quoted him to have said, “I can’t stop myself from constantly ruminating over death.” What an interesting statement, no? And I’m sure he’s not the only one. And while we certainly don’t want to become overly morose and depressive, nor do we want to become oddly morbid like Gomez and Morticia Addams, taking time to ruminate over death on occasion isn’t necessarily the worst thing.
Now, you might think, “why would you say that?” After all, death isn’t exactly a bright and happy topic, is it? In fact, there are a few things that the Bible has to say about it that point to that, like how it’s called an enemy in I Corinthians 15. But it’s something good to reflect on because it’s inevitable.
If you might indulge me to talk about my experiences teaching at Concordia again, that’s something that we were talking about this past week. Now, we weren’t getting into the theology of death all that much. No, that will come later. But instead we were more talking about the insight it brings to us. In particular, we were talking about it in relation to meaning. You see, over the past couple hundred years there has been a shift in cultural though that has become atheistic. And the point that has been realized both within that and that Christians have said about it, is that when you take God out of the picture, things lose meaning. Think about it. If there is no God, what does any of this mean? If there is no God, one day it’s all over, and what was the point? And of course that’s why in our time and place there’s so much emphasis on the need for everyone to create their own meaning. What’s your life mean? It’s up to you. You have to figure it out.
But as I was saying to them, we all recognize there’s something else. If there’s no meaning, then even Hitler can’t be criticized for the Holocaust. Why? Because who’s to say he was wrong? And yet we all know he was. We all know that the loss of life in that way is a travesty. We all know that the loss of life under Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union is deplorable. We all recognize that the slaughter and oppression of tens and hundreds of millions in Communist China is unspeakable—at least those who are still aware of the depths of such wrongs. So, we can see that there’s something underlying this that’s greater, that has meaning.
And we also know that death has meaning too. It has meaning that hurts. It has meaning that aches. It has meaning that shows in the depths of our hearts that something about it just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
And of course, that can cause those of us who believe in God to wrestle with God in the midst of it. Sometimes that wrestling is why a certain person had to die at a certain time. Others, it might be why they had to experience particular hardships in the process. But there is something about it that so often strikes us. And it should. Hopefully you know why: because it’s the wage of sin. God created the world in life. And it was living. And what did He say about it? He looked at it and saw that it was good. It was very good. And then sin entered into the world and ruined it. Sin entered into the world and brought death.
That’s what this widow in the story this morning was experiencing. She was experiencing the sorrow of death. Now, I mentioned this in my devotion, and I believe in the sermon last year, but it’s worth mentioning again. Part of what makes death so hard for this widow is the consequence in her life of this death. You see, she’s a widow, which of course means that her husband is dead. But that meant then that she had no household where she would have a livelihood, except for this son of hers. And so when Luke tells us that this is “the only son of his mother,” we have to understand the context. Not only does this poor woman have to suffer the grief of losing her only son, but on top of that, she’s got to worry about where her meals will now come from. She’s got to worry not only about processing the deep sorrow of this loss, but how to continue going forward to live in this world. Thanks be to God that Jesus is so compassionate! And as He is, we see the crowd marveling. And understandably! This Jesus comes to this funeral procession, and what does He do? He reaches up and touches the casket, and tells the boy, “Young man, I say to you, arise,” and His Word does what it says, and the boy rises from the dead. God be praised! And so the people say “a great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people.”
And there He is this great prophet, the prophet greater than Elijah as we heard about him in the Old Testament lesson. That Elijah raised the son of the widow in Zarephath but did so by prayer. This Jesus spoke and it happened. Clearly, it’s true, “God has visited His people!.” There is God, in the flesh, the body of this Jesus, standing with His people.
Of course in Luke that term to visit has some baggage. Zechariah sang it to John the Baptist at John’s birth. He told him how he would be the prophet to prepare the way of the Lord, because this Lord was coming, God was visiting His people.
Now as I say that, we have to understand that God visiting His people could be trouble. As we’re here ruminating on death a bit, we already made the point that death is the wages, the judgment, of sin. You see God’s visitation bringing judgment sometimes. You think about the parables that Jesus tells. There’s the vineyard where the owner rents it out, and the people won’t give their due to him. So, he sends a servant whom they kill. Then he himself visits and the promise is trouble. Or you see it in the history of Israel. He doesn’t make a bodily visit there, but judgment comes. They are overtaken by Babylon, they suffer defeats in wars. David takes the census to be satisfied by just how strong his army is, God sends judgment on them decreasing the military might significantly. So, that’s something we have to cognizant of.
But what do we see with this visitation of Jesus? Is He bringing judgment like that? No, He’s not. Although He is bringing judgment. He’s bringing judgment against death. You see, wherever God brings judgment, He brings salvation for His people. The flood was judgment, but salvation for Noah and His family. This raising this boy, this life and death of Jesus, this resurrection of Jesus Himself, that’s judgment. It’s judgment against sin and death. But it’s salvation for you.
And what is so amazing is the extent, just how awesome this visitation is. What do I mean? Well, look at this story. There are two subtle details that give us so much insight into this visitation. You know, it’s so neat when you see these things in the text. Think about it. We believe these words are given by the Holy Spirit, so we should look at each one and understand. We, of course, don’t want to miss the forest for the trees, but look at the words. First, Jesus looks at this woman and what does it say? He saw her and “he had compassion on her.” Now, that’s not all that insightful in itself. Of course Jesus had compassion on this woman. That’s not unique here. It happens regularly that you hear that Jesus had compassion on the person. And I’ve pointed out before how this is important in general because it’s that word that tells you that Jesus felt it in His guts. He felt the hurt for this woman so much it pained Him in His guts. That is insightful about this God in the flesh, but why do you think Luke tells us that here. Why do you think the Holy Spirit wanted to make sure we heard it here? Because of what I said before. As a widow at that time she would not have had livelihood. It’s not like she could just go get a job at a business, or as a nurse or anything. Women didn’t work in the way they do now. She was supposed to be cared for by her son. But now he’s dead. Her only son, her caretaker, her provider. So it hurt Jesus to know that she was not going to be taken care of. And just like we talked about last week with Jesus telling you to look at the birds and know you are of more worth than they, so also we hear this compassion and know He wants to care for you and your bodily needs now.
But there’s the other part. You see, need and experiencing a lack of provision, that’s a byproduct of this fallen world, but it’s a consequence, not the cause. Jesus had to deal with the cause. I referred to that already too. He had to take sin upon Himself. But we need to think about this for what it really is. We need to understand the immensity of the sacrifice. And a part of that we can see by looking at another detail: “Then he came up and touched the bier.” On the surface, again, this might seem insignificant, but it’s not. It might just seem like, “of course Jesus reaches up and touches the man, that’s what He does, He makes contact with them.” In fact, I preached on the importance of Jesus’ physical connection a few weeks ago when we heard about Jesus sticking His fingers in the ears of the deaf man. So that is important, but it’s even more important here.
You see, in the Old Testament Law, one was not to come in contact with death. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but you see it here loud and clear. He wasn’t supposed to come in contact with death, but because death as the consequence of sin was unclean. In fact, not only was it ceremonially unclean, you could make the connection that it’s unholy in itself. Remember I said in the beginning that death is called an enemy by Scripture. Well, here Jesus is coming in full contact with that unholy filthy enemy Himself. This holy and blessed God in the flesh reached out and touched the sewage of our sin. For you.
I’m sure you know that. But ponder that mystery again. Jesus cares so much for you, has so much compassion for you that He cares for your earthly needs, but even more He cares for the state of your body and soul eternally. He cares to rescue you from the prison of this sin, He cares to reach out to you and touch you and say, “I say to you arise.” And the joy for you is that He has. He won your freedom in His death and resurrection where He overcame death for you. And now He reaches out and touches you that you would rise as He has baptized you, as He contacts you in His body and blood.
As you ruminate on that, hopefully it brings joy to you out of death. I mentioned my class and our conversation this week on atheism and death. And we’re just talking about philosophy at this point. In that conversation, death ends up being so depressing. But Christians, in Christ, it’s not. In Christ, yes it’s an enemy, but the enemy has been defeated to become a useful servant. As Jesus has touched death for you, put your death in sin upon Himself, He now promises you are raised to life in Him. Death no longer has dominion over you. Instead of death, you have eternal life. As we say at funerals, “Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’” Thanks be to God. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. This morning we meditate on the Gospel Lesson, previously read, especially these words, “Are you not of more value than they?”
As I’m sure you’re all aware, yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of September 11th, 2001. I’m also sure that those of you who are old enough remember exactly where you were during the goings on of that morning. For example, I lived in the dorms at Indiana University. I was an RA there, and I remember clearly walking down the hall on my way to class and someone had drawn a picture on the message board on his door. It was a picture of a plane flying into one of the towers. I can still see the image. And he had written on it something about the happening. We still didn’t know what was going on. So, unaware, I continued to class. It was mentioned there as well, but class went as normal. After class I went to the store and bought a CD that had come out that day. Then I went back to my dorm room and turned on the TV. And there was the coverage. In fact, I remember seeing a replay of the tower falling on that coverage. I was on the phone with Jessica and I didn’t even believe what I had seen. But what I thought I had seen was exactly what happened. The tower had fallen. Then the other tower fell too. I was in shock. Of course we all were, weren’t we?
But why? Why was this so shocking, why did it create the reaction it created? Well, I’m sure there are a million reasons that could be discussed with that, aren’t there? It was shocking because it was an attack on American soil. It was shocking because of the horrible loss of life and the lack of respect of life it demonstrated—and I suppose the fragility of life along with that. There was a story I read this week that pointed that out. A woman whose boyfriend got caught near the twin towers that day was unreachable till that evening. When she heard from him and knew he was safe, it was such an understandably joyful moment, and it reflected that fragility. Shocking fragility. And shocking malice. All of it was so bad. But what did the shock come down to?
You could say in a sense it came down to a shaking in the certainty of our security, didn’t it? Our lives seem so secure, and that utterly disrupted it. It seemed certain that we would be secure from attacks initiated by other countries. It seemed secure that no one would have such disregard for life. It seems secure that when we send our loved ones to New York City and they’re seeing the sights there, that the ensuing result will be stories told over the viewing of pictures, not a sudden fear that we’ll never see them again.
But something like 9/11 disrupts that security. So does a pandemic. That’s our issue in the midst of this, isn’t it? We’ve had our lives that felt so secure, and that’s been shaken. Now there’s insecurity about our health. There’s insecurity that we could get this disease and, sure we could die, but we could also live and have long, long term effects; effects we don’t even know about at this stage in the game. There’s insecurity that a loved one could get sick. There’s insecurity that this could have long lasting social and economic effects on us personally and our nation and world as a whole. There’s insecurity that the government is implementing rules which make security seem more certain now, but in the long run open the door for restriction after restriction which could finally result in totalitarianism. There’s insecurity, isn’t there?
What does insecurity do to us? It leads us to worry. Isn’t that what worry really is? Isn’t it just meditation on insecurity? Why did you worry on September 11th? Because your sense of security was interrupted. Why do you worry with the pandemic? Because your sense of security has been interrupted.
And to be fair, there’s good reason for this isn’t there? As I say that, I would argue part of the reason this is the case is because we expect this world to be closer to utopia than we should actually expect it to be considering its fallen and broken in sin. But I think an aspect of that is that the desire for heaven is written in our beings. The desire for security and comfort and the like, God has written that into our hearts that we would yearn for it. And as we yearn for it, we seek it here. We fashion our interpretation of life around the expectation of that utopia, here and now. Likewise, we interpret reality in such a way to filter out as much as possible that disrupts that dream. So, in that regard we shouldn’t feel secure at all. But in terms of the concerns we have, we should be honest that they’re not bad in and of themselves, right?
I mean it’s not bad for us to want to make sure that our country isn’t attacked. It’s not bad for us to want people to respect human life. It’s not bad for us to want our loved ones to be safe or for us to not have to live with the effects of an illness. Right? All of that is worthy of desiring. But worry turns our attention away from just desire to an anxiety. But what does Jesus tell you?
He tells you to look at the birds. Learn from these wild animals. And of course on the face of it, it sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? What are we as human beings doing looking at these unthinking, unplanning, irrational creatures for an example? But within the context you see the wisdom, don’t you? It’s simple. They aren’t worried. The just get up in the morning, they find their food, they go to sleep. They don’t worry about it. And God just gives it to them. And Jesus says learn from them. Learn from their behavior. Why? Not just because they have it figured out, but there’s another reason. Because you are worth more then they are. God sees your life as worth more than the lives of those birds. You’re worth more than the birds, and He takes care of them. Won’t He take care of you?
If you watch my devotions, you heard me say this, but think about what Jesus is promising this, and think of how it connects to His death. In what form did Jesus come to earth? He could have come to earth in any form. He could have come as that grass, He could have come as that bird—of course we wouldn’t have known it, and we recognize the ridiculousness of the thought, but even still how did He come? He came as a human being. Why? To redeem human beings. Why? Because that’s what He finds so valuable. He didn’t come as a bird, He came as a human because humans are of much more worth than birds. He came as a human because He wanted humans redeemed.
He wanted you redeemed. That’s why He took your sin to the cross, that’s why He died for it. And that’s why He rose again, to overcome death for you, to overcome the death of your body. He values you and wants you in heaven. In fact, that’s the promise that you have in Him by baptism. That shows you that He wants you there. That show that He loves you. That He speaks this word into your ear now, shows that He wants and values you! O ye of little faith! He really truly wants to care for you! He really and truly promises to care for you! He really and truly wants you to have peace of mind and heart in the faith and trust that He will take care of you and that He will never leave you nor forsake you! So, why do you still worry?
Well, I’ve obviously gone around the whole rigamarole with that, but there’s one thing I haven’t touched on yet—and that’s the thing that’s the hardest in the midst of this. You still worry because you don’t have control of it, right? You still worry, even though you know that Jesus exists and you know that He makes the promise to take care of you, you still worry because that care doesn’t happen just how you want it to. It happens in a way that seems arbitrary and arbitrary is so hard to deal with because it doesn’t make sense. You could even say it feels unfair. You worry, because you’re afraid something will happen that you don’t think will be fair.
Right, isn’t that the rub of these concerns? It doesn’t seem fair that the US—while certainly imperfectly—has tried to bring freedom to the world, and those who seek to destroy it are attacking. It doesn’t seem fair that those people just got up one morning and were dead by the end of the day as the towers collapsed—or even less fair, lived for a time after; some for who knows how long. It doesn’t seem fair that certain people have died from the coronavirus when others haven’t, some healthier than others, some seemingly just better people than others. Lack of control feels like lack of fairness, right?
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. What do I mean? Well, on the surface that sounds like Jesus is saying, “Be the good Christian you are supposed to be then you’ll be taken care of.” But where is God’s Kingdom and righteousness? It’s found in Jesus. It’s found on that cross. And there you see the immense depth of His goodness, there you see the immense depth of His righteousness. There you see the immense depth of His love. And if He loves so much that He died for you, do you not think He doesn’t actually know what’s best for you. If He loves the world so much that He died for it, and God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, right? If that love is true—which the cross shows us it is—then do you not think He knows how best to love that world? Do you think that maybe the unfair thing is actually what He suffered and not what others do? Do you think that maybe the control belongs in the hands of the One who does love so perfectly?
Obviously the answer is yes. And it’s yes because this love shows that “you are of more value than those birds. It’s yes because He does care for you. It’s yes because security isn’t found in the utopian dreams we have in this world, in our ability to control and protect ourselves and our loved ones. Security is found in the promises of this One who loves and overcomes all evil in His death and resurrection. So, Christian, Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Rest in this Christ. Rest knowing that you are of great value to Him. You are of value worth dying for. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. This morning we meditate on the Gospel Lesson previously read. Amen.
When we hear the readings for each week, one thing we should look for is the unifying thread of those readings. I think I’ve mentioned that before, but this is a great week to make that point. You might be wondering why this week, but before you do, try to make the connection. First, think about the Gospel reading. You’ve got this familiar story where Jesus heals the Ten Lepers. And why is it so familiar? Because we use it on Thanksgiving Day every year. And why do we do that? Because there’s this contrast between the nine lepers who didn’t say thank you to Jesus and the one who did. And of course, that fits, right? That’s an appropriate reading and theme for that day. But here in the regular part of the Church year, what do we do with it? On that day, we’re focused on our call to give God thanks. Here, we’re just in the middle of the season where we have Jesus in His regular ministry, these readings that tell us about life as His people between His ascension into heaven and when He’ll come back to bring about the resurrection of the dead, the judgment, and the New Heavens and the New Earth. So, what does the theme fit with today?
Well, let’s consider the other readings. First, we had the excerpt from Psalm 119. If you don’t know Psalm 119, read it. It is a great homage to the Word of God. If you watch the devotions, you saw the explanation that it is an acrostic. Each section begins its lines with a different letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, kind of like if we would make each line in a poem start with A, then the next section each line with start with a word beginning with B, then C, and D, and so on. That’s Psalm 119, and every single line but a handful of the 176 verses laud the wonderful nature of God’s Word. So, that’s the Psalm, it’s about God’s Word. And in this section, there’s even this great exhortation to “store up that word in [our] hearts.” And why? “That I might not sin against you.” The beauty of God’s Word, know that Word, know it and store it up in your heart. Memorize it and make it a part of you and it would give you wisdom in your life in Christ.
And that’s the theme of the Old Testament lesson, “Hear, my son, and accept my words... I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness… Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.” These two readings have this theme of the teaching, of knowing the Word, don’t they? But then there’s a shift, isn’t there? Then you get the shift to the Epistle lesson, the second reading. And what does that say?
Well, it doesn’t speak as directly about the Word, or it doesn’t speak as directly about the Lord’s instruction, per se. But if you look at it, you can definitely make a connection. In fact, if you think about how the Epistle lessons over the past couple of weeks have been from Galatians as well, you can make the connection even more directly in pondering what they said in comparison with what is being said here. Those did talk about the promises of God in His Word, but today’s, then, speaks in light of those promises and in light of what the Word instructs for life. But here is a different way of saying it. Instead of directly referencing the Word, here Paul talks about walking by the Spirit, and not walking according to the flesh.
Now to make the connection that much clearer, how do we walk by the Spirit? In the past of Christianity, and even still today, you would have many who would say that as a Christian, you follow your heart. You pray to God for guidance and the Spirit will lead you. In our day, though, we see the consequence of that. “My heart tells me that it’s not that bad for me to leave my wife.” Well, did that come from the Spirit or the flesh? Clearly it came from the flesh. But how do you know? How as a Christian can you finally know whether instruction is from the Spirit or the flesh? By the Scripture, right? If the instruction comes from the Word, if it comes from the Commandments, then you know it fits with God’s will. If it doesn’t then you have to figure out if it actually does fit in the instruction of the Word altogether. For example, again speaking of the devotions, this week, within those, I made the point that the ways that Paul describes living according to the flesh, that those descriptions all fit in breaking at least one of the Ten Commandments each. You know, “enmity, fits of anger,” those break the Fifth Commandment not to murder. And so there is the theme still of the Word.
However, there is this strong distinction here, like I said, of walking by the Spirit over and against the flesh. And to look at that quickly, what is Paul saying? He’s saying that as Christ makes us anew in His Spirit, then we don’t still do the things that we used to do before we were Christian. We don’t still do the things that gratify our sinful nature. We don’t still participate in sexual immorality, we don’t worship false gods, we don’t have enmity with each other, nor do we divide because those divisions lead to judgment, self-righteousness, anger, hatred. No, we live by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against these things, there is no law, there is no command. The Word doesn’t restrict them, instead they are encouraged.
And there is where the connection comes to the Gospel. When we see the Gospel lesson, what’s there? What happens? You have these ten lepers, and they’re shouting out to Jesus, and what do they ask Him? They ask Him for mercy, right? And like I said last week, when you come to Jesus asking what you need to do, He tells you just what. But when you come to Jesus for mercy, what does He do? He gives you that mercy. And that’s what these men get. They don’t get the admonition to go show others mercy, instead they receive it. And they get it as Jesus tells them all to go show themselves to the priests.
Now, I’m guessing you remember to some extent the effects of leprosy. Sadly, it’s a disease that affects the limbs of the individual, and eventually causes the limbs to die and fall off. It’s very sad. In light of that, lepers were required to stay at a distance from people. And this was actually a requirement of the Old Testament Law. The lepers were not allowed to be close to anyone. They couldn’t be close to family, to loved ones, and they couldn’t go in the temple and be in the presence of the Lord there. So, when these lepers were healed, they were allowed to go back to their lives. I’m guessing you can imagine the joy that would bring. Think about that. You have this disease which is eventually going to kill you. On top of that you can’t be cared for by your loved ones. You can’t touch them, they can’t touch you and treat your disease. You’re cut off. And you can’t go to church. But, then you’re healed. Now you get to go back to all of it. Imagine your joy! Imagine the excitement you would have!
And in this case, who is your thankfulness to be directed at? Jesus, right? And so you can see the contrast between the nine who go away unthankful, and the one who comes back. But how does this connect to what we’ve been talking about with the theme of the other readings? How does it connect to this theme of the Word, and life by the Spirit according to that Word? You can see it in the response that Jesus speaks to the leper who returns. What does He finally tell that leper? “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
If you would look at this verse in the King James Bible, you would find it to say, “Thy faith has made thee whole.” Or in the Greek you would see a word that literally translates to saves. “Rise and go your way, your faith has saved you.” Now, that language of “made thee whole” fits well here. That faith has made the leper whole. He is whole in His body again from the leprosy, but by faith he is now whole in his soul by the faith which has cleansed his sin. And there’s the link to the theme. This leper has been saved not just from a bodily disease, but in the faith that brought him to return to Jesus and give thanks, he shows a trust in this Lord and redeemer. He shows a newness of life by the Word of Jesus. He shows a newness of life that walks not by the flesh, but by the Spirit. Those other lepers, were elated to return to their lives, but this leper was elated to return to the Lord who healed him.
As I say that, I want you to ask yourself what you would do. I often make that point that it’s easy to look at the actions of the disciples and how they don’t get it and shake our heads. I remember growing up doing that with them all the time, or possibly even hearing this parable and thinking, “what’s wrong with them? Why didn’t they go back to Jesus? Of course you go back to Jesus!” But do we? Do you?
Look at where we are with the pandemic. Many of you are likely like me. We can’t wait for this to just return to normal. But will normal be a return to our Lord? Or will it be a return to many things that distract us. Or as we’re seeing a return to normal, is that a return to the Lord for you, or a return to other things? And as I say a return to the Lord, what I mean is repentance. It’s always easy to look at the world and wonder what God is doing, but understand that in every circumstance, there is a call from Him for us to repent. Repent of our sin, repent of our clinging to earthly things, repent of our self-righteousness in contrast to a world that has fallen way from the Lord. Repent.
And in that repentance there is life in the Spirit. In that repentance and faith you are saved. This is because this Jesus who spoke the word of healing to the lepers, speaks the word of healing to the leprosy of your sin. Just as the lepers weren’t allowed in the temple because of their leprosy, this disease of your sin should restrict you from the presence of the Lord. And yet He has taken that disease upon His own body and redeemed you. He has died the death it should bring to you. But He has been raised so that you would have life in Him. That’s the life in the Spirit. That’s the true life, that’s the life that comes by the faith that saves and makes you whole. And this is the life that He gives you still by this Word here where He meets you, where you come and partake of His Eucharist, His meal of thanksgiving.
And as I say all that, one other thing is worth noting. The healing the ten lepers received was a blessing for all of them. The return to their lives was a valid reason to be ecstatic. We all would be. We all would rightly be. We want to make sure that the eternal reality and importance of our faith doesn’t negate the reality of what’s happening now. But that reality now should help us to realize just how important that faith that saves is. It does give eternal life. And in that eternal life, there will be life in the Spirit not only in our souls, but even in our bodies as the Lord promises to raise us whole on that last day. That’s why we live in the Spirit in the meantime, why we walk in the word. But that’s why we also heed that call to faith in Jesus and not the things of this world, because that’s what will last eternally: the joy of Jesus who says to you, “rise and come to my eternal kingdom, your faith has saved you.” Amen.