In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Do we think the other nine lepers weren't grateful or thankful that Jesus healed them? I'm sure they were! I'm sure they were ecstatic that they didn't have leprosy anymore. But Jesus isn't asking why they didn't come back to say "Thank you!" He's asking why only one came back to "give glory to God." To "give glory to God" isn't just being polite and minding our manners, and saying, "Thank you." To give God glory is to recognize that the Son of God in the flesh is God with us and He's the most important thing we need.
What this Samaritan realizes that the others don't seem to, is that if Jesus can heal leprosy, He can save sinners. He realizes that he doesn't just need Jesus to make his nasty flesh disease go away. He needs Jesus for everything, to be His Savior from sin and death.
We often do this: We cry out to the Lord to save us, fix us, help us, rescue us, deliver us. Then, when things are better or back to the way we want them, we sort of tuck Jesus away until we need Him again. The Samaritan realizes he needs Jesus all the time! His example teaches us to repent of being like those guys who just get what they want and then off they go. The Samaritan teaches us that Jesus is the true High Priest who heals us and pronounces us clean from our sins.
That's because the Son of God doesn't just cleanse leprosy, but He also takes away our sins. By His Cross and empty tomb, and His water, Word, and Body and Blood, He pronounces you clean. When He tells the Samaritan, "Your faith has saved you," it's the same as if He says, "Your Jesus has saved you. And I'll always keep saving you. Stick close!" And He always will. Now go: your faith, your Jesus, has saved you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Keep, we implore You, O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because the frailty of mankind without You 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)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.