Thanksgiving (Lk 17:11–19)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


In just a few short hours we’ll be saying, “Well, that hits the spot.” So, what hits the spot? For each of us it’s different. We fight over which part of the meal we like the best. Maybe what hits the spot for you, also hits the spot for someone else. Then things get a bit tricky around the dinner table. It’s all a bit subjective, though. What you like they might not. What they like, you might not. Or at least not as much—that’s the hope.

We need something more than personal preferences. We need more direction than just “what hits the spot?” No “our god is our belly” here. Our Gospel lesson like a map, like a signpost—something objective—shows us that it’s not a matter of “what hits the spot?”, but “what” or rather “who marks the spot?” And all the movement in our text—there’s a lot—actually makes it easy to figure it out. There’s only one Target, one Spot, one Person it all revolves around: Jesus.

((2. Jesus put Himself in a spot.))

It all hangs on Him. It must. He put Himself in a spot, in a place, and, after today, we’re gearing up for that: Christmas! The day God came to a specific spot—Bethlehem, in fact. God was then not God far-off but God near, not God apart-from-us but Immanuel (God-with-us, God-one-of-us), not God of our making, but God made flesh. God has flesh and blood, “body and soul, eyes, ears,” and all the rest—even fingers and toes! God has feet! All of God, God Himself was in that Baby, “wrapped [up] and lying in a manger.”

He came to the Bethlehem spot, came in flesh and blood, to go into a real tight spot, and so we find Him in our text: “on the way to Jerusalem.” Only one reason to go there. Only one reason to take His now grown fingers and toes, to bring His flesh and blood, to foot it to the Jerusalem spot. Calvary. Pierced hands and feet. Cross. Death. The reason for His coming. It all really did hang with Him.

But before that, a detour “between Samaria and Galilee.” And where does He go? What scenic spot did He pick? A leper colony, and a Samaritan one at that! There, in the middle of nowhere, Jesus picks the right spot. He’s exactly where He wants to be. Same place they were: lepers! Had to be them. 10 of them. Lepers from their heads to their toes. Hands and feet not just diseased, but worse: unclean! So they had no one else but other lepers. No one except Jesus.

He picks their spot as His spot. He came for that, for them. Jesus did all this—Bethlehem, Calvary, and Samaria—for the one, for the nine, for you. For each of you, and for all of you, the whole of you. No part of you is left out of the Lord’s FOR YOU. Not just your soul, but your body, your “eyes, ears, and all your members.” You—inside and out, body and soul, from your head to your feet—is all covered by the Lord’s doing, working, and walking FOR YOU.

((1. We go to the Jesus spot.))

So, off to the Jesus spot. There was no place else to try, after all. All they had was each other. All Ten together: “Jesus, Master, have mercy!” “Off to the priests with you,” He says. Off they go, and then…cleansing! No more spots! Not just spots that kept them separated from their family and loved ones. No spots or blemishes keeping them from the Lord either. True cleansing. Full cleansing. Body and soul cleansing.

So, off to the cleansing spot. Not the God of medical miracles. (Even unbelievers go into remission.) Not God Almighty in the purple mountain’s majesty. That’s the way of the nine. Unfaith for not going and gathering around Jesus. There’s only one spot for those who’ve got spots—Jesus. So, off to the God in a spot, to the God with flesh and blood, to the God with feet. No other God than Him: “Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus.”

Immanuel Jesus, God-with-Feet Jesus, isn’t just for Jews or Samaritans, or even just for Americans. No, He’s certainly for all, came for all, died for all. But He’s much more personal than all that. He doesn’t just come for all. He came for all ten of them, for the nine, who need nothing more of Him, and for the one, who needs nothing else but Him. He comes for you, too. Yes, you. Only you.

He makes your spot His spot. He comes here for you. Your spots were His spots. Now, you’ve got none of them. He went His way from the Bethlehem spot to the Calvary spot to do it. God-with-feet Jesus is that way for you. Where He is, there cleansing. His spot is the right spot, the only spot for that.

He puts it right where He’ll meet you, ordinary you, with His cleansing. Your leprosy, your sin, baptized away. A Word of forgiveness, an Absolution, private, just for you. Body and blood the medicine of eternal life.

Where Jesus, flesh and blood Jesus, there cleansing. Body and soul. Complete. Whole. Undiminished. Last Day and eternal cleansing. Where cleansing, there worship. No God to cleanse or worship apart from Him, Immanuel, God with feet, God with body and blood to give for you and to you. “He fell down at His feet.” The Samaritan knew. You do, too.

So, what hits the spot? Depends. Enjoy it, though! All good gifts from Jesus’ and your heavenly Father. But He gives such gifts to all, even the unbeliever, given from sea to shining sea in particularity to each, some more, some less.

We don’t need that sort of God. The Lepers didn’t need that sort of God. They needed a God who gave undiminishedly. They needed a God in a spot, and that’s the God they got. He’s your’s, too. He’s God with you, God with all of us, Immanuel, God made flesh, God with feet!


Whole. Complete. Undiminished. Always more and more. Where that Jesus, body and blood Jesus, there cleansing, there worship. Both now and forever.

Now, that’s something to be thankful for.


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