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More Notes for Trinity 14 – Luke 17:11-19

by pastorjuhl ~ August 30th, 2010

Blessed Martin Luther
So there are three lessons for us in today’s Gospel: the first, on faith; the second, on the beautiful virtue of gratitude; and the third, on the virtue of patiently putting up with ingratitude. From the example of the faith of the lepers, we should learn to wait patiently, never allowing our faith to waver, so that God can answer us. From the Samaritan, we should learn to follow his example of being grateful to God and to our fellowmen. From Christ, however, we should learn that, when we do a good deed and it is misconstrued, so that we receive no thanks and our effort is wasted, we must not let that embitter us or, above all, cause us to take our own frustration out on other people. As we said before, among worldlings it is a common sin to become bitter and discouraged by ingratitude, and for that reason, refusing to help others thus making others suffer because of one person’s ingratitude. You are a Christian, so don’t act that way. Expect nine people out of ten to criticize you for every one who is grateful. Despite His great benefaction, not even Christ found people to be grateful. Should we expect to fare any better than He? Just ignore the nine, and you will be harmed as little as Christ was; but they will have to suffer the penalty that there is neither joy nor salvation for the ungrateful (House Postils 2:429).

A wavering heart that doesn’t believe, that isn’t convinced that it will receive what it asks for, will certainly receive nothing. For our Lord God can give such a heart nothing, even though He would dearly love to do so. It is as if you have a vessel in your hands, but refuse to hold it still and keep waving it back and forth. I can’t pour anything into it. Even though I try to fill it, the liquid will just miss on either side and will simply be wasted. That’s the way it is with an unbelieving, wavering heart…. On the other hand, if you do not waver, but wait patiently, God loves to give to people just like that, as we see in the case of the ten lepers…. They wait patiently and never doubt that Jesus will help them. That is why they get exactly what they believe…. We should pray in firm faith and not doubt God’s gracious will through Christ.

Nihil citius senescit, quam gratia – Nothing grows old faster than gratitude.

Church Fathers
Today the Lord rebukes those who keep the Passover the way the Jews did, just as He rebuked certain lepers He had cleansed. You recall that He loved the one who was thankful, but He was angry with the ungrateful ones, because they did not acknowledge their Deliverer. They thought more highly of their cure from leprosy than of Him Who had healed them (St. Athanasius).

From a pericopal study by Rev. Dr. Lee A. Maxwell: “What is important here is that the connection with Jesus that counts is not one of blood, but of faith.”

Arthur Just
The Samaritan returns to Jesus, glorifying God the Father for the miracles that he is bringing to the world through Jesus. But now he recognizes that the glory he gives God is to be expressed in worship of and thanksgiving to Jesus, who is God in flesh, and whose cleansing atonement supersedes the cleansing rites of the priests in the temple. Every other instance of eucharisteoo, “give thanks,” is a giving of thanks to God. This is the only place in the entire NT where eucharisteoo refers to the giving of thanks to Jesus! (CPH Luke Commentary, 655)

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