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"Come Unto Me" - Day 17

Welcome to “Come Unto Me” as we journey together through the gospel of Luke. Let us pray: Gracious God we thank you for the Living Word that gives witness to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit open our souls to this Living Word. Amen

Wednesday, August 12 / Luke Chapter 17

Chapter 17 is divided up into three sections. It begins with Some Sayings of Jesus. In 17:1-2 Jesus warns his disciples that no one should cause the “little ones” to stumble. “(vs.2) In other words, it would be better for you to be dead! 17:3-4 Jesus reminds us of the importance of forgiveness,

When the apostles “said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Jesus replied with the well known verse: “ I you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea’ and it would obey you. Quite a thought! As a youngster I had a necklace with a small clear pendant that had a mustard seed inside. It was a tiny seed. The imagery here speaks for itself.

Then Jesus teaches using the story of the slave returning from the field or tending sheep. The question is: “Would you rather say to him “Come here and take your place at the table, or would you rather say to him, ’Prepare supper for me. Later, you may eat and drink’?” “Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?” Think about that. Do we take time to do the latter as Jesus is implying we should. Be thankful for those who wait on and serve you and tell them so. And remember to thank our essential workers.

The well known story of the Ten Lepers is a story of gratitude and also it is about the important contributions made by outsiders. The first Samaritans in Luke’s story reject Jesus (9:51-53). The next Samaritan acts like a neighbor to the man who was beaten (10:25-37) This Samaritan is the only one to return and thank Jesus for healing him (As an outsider the Samaritan is the only one who does not need to go and show himself to the priests). (footnote from Lutheran Study Bible, p.1734)

The Samaritan leper laid himself on the ground (prostrated himself) before Jesus as one would to a king after praising Jesus with a loud voice. Jesus acknowledges the foreigner and his gratefulness saying, “Your faith has made you well.” The faith, gratefulness and worship of this foreigner teaches us to realize that it is not a select group that makes up those with faith.

Finally we have Jesus teaching on The Coming of the Kingdom. Jesus says the kingdom of God is not coming but is already among us.” What does He mean by this? He gives an illustration: “For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.” It will be an awesome event when Jesus returns. Jesus also says He will have to endure suffering (on the cross) and be rejected by this generation (17:33). We read earlier in Luke how we are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus. And with that we would be that we would experience suffering. Of course, Jesus enduring much more suffering on the Cross for us. And we have the promise that Jesus will walk through life’s storms with us, guiding and protecting us. Thanks be to God for that promise!

The last verses of chapter 15 can be rather troubling. A verse I would like to highlight is: “Those who make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.” (17:33) Jesus calls us all to be his disciples. He calls us to lose our lives in Him. He calls us to give ourselves to Him so we can do God’s work, be God’s hands and feet in the world today – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blessings on your day, Deacon Karen


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