18th Sunday After Pentecost – Proper 23 – -0-09-2-22
Psalm 66:1-11; Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; 2nd Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19
Our psalm for today is both about testing and praising God. He most certainly can put us to the test, to gauge the strength of our faith; like a silversmith clears out the ugly portion of the melted silver, he take a tool and spreads that which is dirty or unpure to the side of the container, so that he can then reach the clear and purified silver for His use. God will allow us at times to face situations where our faith in Him is challenged and can e strengthened; thus, we look back on such experiences and we praise God for them and use them as personal testimony to encourage others. Although some psalms praise God as the peculiar God of Israel, the majority extol Him as the God of all peoples. This one typifies the many expressions of praise. Such praise is not a private prayer but a public testimony, which provides an important principle of prayer. Unconfessed, and thus unforgiven, sin blocks communication with God.
From Jeremiah we come to understand there are prophets, but only those God speaks to give His revelations to His people in truth. Even in exile the Hebrew people continued to look to false prophets and to diviners who sought God’s word from natural forces and animal parts. Change of scenery and economic conditions did nothing to change their sinful attempts to create revelation rather than depending on God for it. Prophets receiving divine revelation appeared to be mad. God rules foreign lands as well as the land of His chosen people. Geography does not restrict God. Neither do prophets who preach without receiving words from Him. We can trust God in His sovereign rule because we know ultimately His plans give us hope and a future.
From 2nd Timothy we are reminded as a human Son of David, Jesus fulfilled all God’s promises to Israel. As the One raised from death, He gave us reason to endure all the world’s suffering and persecution, knowing we will live with Him now and forever. On the cross, He put away our old way of life and introduced us to enduring faithfulness which will lead us to reign with Him in heaven. He is always faithful to His character and His promises, and he wants us to know that we can trust in faith, that He will do just as He said He would do and that we can depend upon Him. The Word of God, alive and unchained, cannot be contained by human effort. Even though the messenger is imprisoned, the message is never imprisoned. God knows who are His people. Always remember that “Carriers of the truth of God are to represent that truth and the God of truth well enough that we need never apologize for ourselves. God wants His people to be well prepared in the interpretation of God’s truth. The messenger who interprets God’s truth for others is an agent of hiss revelation.”
Finally from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is on the border of Samaria and Galilee and encounters ten men who are afflicted with leprosy and they stood at a distance from Him and called out in a loud voice, “Jess, Master, have pity on us!” Upon seeing them, he said, “God show yourselves to the priest.” And as they wen they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He thew himself at Jesus’ feet an thanks him—-and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Ten lepers, at least one of them a Samaritan, asked for healing. In response to Jesus’ charge to show themselves to the priest, they went—-in faith. All were cleansed. Only one, a Samaritan returned to thank Jesus. This action expressed greater faith. Miracles should increase our faith and cause us to both thank and praise God.
Each of us beloved is a servant of the Masters calling. A servant is a disciple who by their obedience to serve in faith and with righteous character, to do His will in gratitude for what Christ did, not in response to His charge to show themselves to the priest, they went—in faith. All were healed as was the one who went back to thank Him and praise God for his healing showed greater faith. Amen