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The Bold Faith of Lepers
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word 

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

Luke 17:11–13, RSV

From Luther

This is a plain, simple history or transaction, which requires little explanation. Yet as plain as it is, great is the example it presents to us. In the leper it teaches us faith, in Christ it teaches us love. Now, faith and love constitute the whole character of the Christian. Faith receives, love gives. Faith brings man to God, love brings man to his fellow man. Through faith he permits God to do him good, through love he does good to his brother. For whoever believes has everything from God, and is happy and rich. He needs nothing more and does and orders all things for the good and benefit of his neighbor. Through love he does to his neighbor as God did to him through faith. He reaps good from above through faith, he gives good below through love.

It is characteristic of faith boldly to trust God’s grace, and to form a bright vision and refuge in God, doubting nothing. Where there is no true faith there is no true prayer, nor any seeking after God. But where it exists it makes man bold and anxious freely to bring his troubles unto God, and earnestly to pray for help. It is not enough to believe there is a God, and pray many words as the wretched custom is now. But observe in the leper how faith is constituted, how without any teacher at all it teaches us how our prayers may be truly fruitful. You here observe how they had a good opinion of and a comforting assurance in Christ, and firmly thought he would be gracious to them. This thought made them bold and anxious to bring their troubles to him, and to cry for help with great earnestness and a loud voice.

Luke does not relate three things of the lepers in vain: first, that they went to meet him; second, they stood; third, they lifted up their voices. By these three things their strong faith is commended to us as an example. The going forth to meet him is the boldness excited by comforting assurance. The standing is the firmness and sincerity against doubt. The lifting up of the voice is the great earnestness in prayer, growing out of such confidence.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 322–23.

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