Trinity 14 (Lk 17, 11–19)

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On His trip to Jerusalem, He also went through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

᛭ INI ᛭

What’s Jesus up to on His trip to Jerusalem? It’s no vacation. It’s a business trip. He’s on Messiah business, “Prophet of the Lord” business. He’s going to Jerusalem to die and rise. “For it can’t happen,” Jesus says, “that prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”

But it’s not just Prophet business. He’s going to Jerusalem as her once, her only King. He’s goes to Jerusalem because it’s “the city of the great King,” as Jesus Himself puts it. It’s His city. He goes there as “the Son of David.” “Blessèd is who comes in the name of the Lord!” There He dies, condemned as “The King of the Jews.”

Not just Prophet, not just King, but also Priest. “Priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus as the Son of God is Prophet, Priest, and King. And Jesus is on just a little trip, final trip to Jerusalem to do some Priestly business. “Out of Zion God shines forth.” He shines forth from a little hill on Mount Zion: Mt. Calvary.

The Temple is there. The Sacrifice is there. Right there in “the midst of Samaria and Galilee.” Not in Jerusalem? No, not in Jerusalem. The true Temple is Jesus. The true Sacrifice is Jesus. The true Priest is Jesus. But before we get to that we need to look at what priests were supposed to do.

(2. There are things that keep you far away from Jesus.)

There are things that are “meet, right, salutary,” and holy, and things that aren’t. Not just for the lepers but for you and me, too!

One job the Old Testament priests had was to distinguish between what was holy and what wasn’t. Leprosy was one of those unholy things. Under the ceremonial Law the ten lepers had to stay “far away.” The priests would determine if they were unclean or clean. Until they were judged “clean,” they had to cry out to all passersby: “Unclean.” They cry out to Jesus, too. “Jesus, Master, have mercy upon us!”

It’s not just the Old Testament ceremonial Law. There are things that separate you from God. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” Now maybe we don’t do the grosses of things in that list, but your flesh still falls into many of them in “thought, word, and deed” by “what you’ve done and what you’ve left undone.”

These things separate you from God forever. Daily and much these things pop up on our hearts, are thought about in our heads, done with our hands, our mouths, and we are “unclean.” “I warn you,” Paul says, “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The things that separate off from God also do the same with one another. They cause fights between spouses, friends become enemies, parents and children argue, discussions get heated. There’s no end to it! The devil loves pulling all those strings. You even hear it in Jesus’ words: “this foreigner.” Jew and Gentile was the reality of Jesus’ day. Different cliques today, but we still do it.

(1. Great High Priest Jesus cleanses you to give you access to Him.)

What’s Jesus to do with you? Well, what’s He up to, today? He’s on a little trip to Jerusalem. He knows you’re “by nature sinful and unclean.” It means that rightfully you should be cut off from Him and all people. “Outside the camp.” “In the place of outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” There you are unclean, unholy forever.

But Jesus is on His trip to Jerusalem. On His way, even from the time He was conceived, Jesus does what is meet, right, salutary, and holy FOR YOU. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He puts Himself under His own Law to remain most holy under it to save you. “Sinless in the sinner’s stead.”

He is also the sacrifice for your sins. He bears their punishment, of course, but, by the shedding of His blood, He also cleanses “the iniquity of us all.” “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would be the righteousness of God.” “His soul makes an offering for guilt;” “so shall He sprinkle many nations.” “By His wounds, you have been healed,” cleansed, forgiven, “by the precious blood of Christ.”

Cleansed, you have full access to Jesus. Just like that Samaritan leper. He didn’t need to go to Jerusalem to find the temple or the priest. He didn’t need to go make a sacrifice, the true Sacrifice was right there! The Priest was there! The Temple was there! God was there! God with hands and feet! Jesus is for the Leper, for you, too. You also have full access.

Jesus comes to you to make you holy, to forgive you, cleanse you. He blesses you with His presence, but more than a vague “Jesus is here” ghost-like presence. No! “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” the Scripture says. How? Jesus, the God praised by the Samaritan is the same God, the same Jesus who gives you His body and blood to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of your sins.

With Jesus’ body and blood, nothing separates Him from you and you from Him. There’s no longer “far away” Jesus. And there’s nothing separating us from one another either! “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

(Conclusion.)

There are things that we do—that we are!—that separate us from Jesus. But

WITH HIS TRIP TO JERUSALEM, JESUS CLEANSES YOU FROM EVERYTHING THAT KEEPS YOU FAR AWAY FROM HIM.

Without Him cleansing us we would “not inherit the Kingdom of God.” But that’s exactly what Jesus is up to today. High Priest Jesus has come to cleanse. He’s on His way to Jerusalem to die and rise for your sins, for the leper’s, too.

WITH HIS TRIP TO JERUSALEM, JESUS CLEANSES YOU FROM EVERYTHING THAT KEEPS YOU FAR AWAY FROM HIM.

As down payment, He cleanses the Leper. Jesus is Temple, Sacrifice, and Priest for that Leper. That’s why the Leper turns around. (This isn’t some passive agressive “be thankful” Bible story.)

You’re that clean! That forgiven in Christ. Apart from Him not. It looks a bit different now. Back then the Leper had to go back where the flesh and blood Jesus was. In our day, the flesh and blood Jesus shows up, blesses bread and wine to give you His body and blood, so that you’re cleansed, forgiven, now and forever.

᛭ INI ᛭

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