Reflections: Sunday of the 14th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 17:11-19

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 1:1-2:10; 1 Timothy 1:1-20

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Our English translations have to make a couple of interpretive choices when they translate Luke 17:19. Jesus literally says, “Arise! Journey!  Your faith has saved you!”

First, how do you translate “saved”? Obviously, Jesus saved this man from his skin disease. The ESV translates it this way: “Your faith had made you well.” However, Jesus did more than just heal his disease. He saved him from the state of exile caused by his impurity. An incurable skin disease would prevent anyone from entering a holy space, such as the temple. Also, in extreme cases you would be excluded from society, lest you pass your impurity to them. Jesus healed this man’s disease, but He also healed both the rift between this man and God and the rift between him and his fellow men. Jesus saved him!

Second, when Jesus tells this man to get up and journey, what does He mean? The ESV assumes that Jesus is telling this man to move along—to go back home and to normal life. This is possible, but it is also possible that Jesus is inviting this man to journey with Him—to follow Him as a disciple and travel with Him to Jerusalem. 

That second interpretation certainly fits the theme of this Sunday. The Propers for this Sunday emphasize that after Jesus purifies you of your sins, you must follow Jesus and remain with Him. Thus, Proverbs 4:10-23 invites us to stay on the way of wisdom and the path of righteousness. In Galatians, Paul encourages us to walk by the Spirit, which means to crucify your flesh and to produce the fruit of the Spirit. The Introit speaks of dwelling with the Lord in His house.

You are pure in the eyes of God as long as you are in Christ. He is your righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Christ you find the grace of God. To leave Christ is to leave God’s grace. Salvation is not a one-time event that occurred in the past. It is a reality that you live in. You were baptized into Christ. In Him you must stay. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, keep Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because of our frailty we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 14th Sunday after Trinity)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.