THE GOSPEL. (S. LUKE xvii. 11.)
THE CLEANSING POWER
The healing of the leper (S. Matt. viii. i) recorded in the Gospel of
the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, illustrated the Divine mercy, the
present miracle is here recorded to teach the cleansing power of Christ.
A. The Leprosy of Sin.
The ten lepers are a picture of moral defilement. Leprosy, thc disease
of the flesh, is the natural type, as, no doubt, often also the punishment,
of fleshly sin. As unclean they stood “afar off,” as banished from society
they were driven to consort together.
B. The Miracle of Cleansing.
The extremity of their misery drives them to Christ, Who alone could
deliver them from “the body of this death.” They came conscious of defilement,
for they “lifted up their voices,” unwilling to approach. They came earnest,
entreating, reverent. To know our sin is the first step towards knowing
our Saviour. Christ has ever demanded the concurrence of faith. Still in
their leprosy, they are to go to announce their cure. No more trying evidence
of faith could have been required, and it was forthcoming, for as they
went they were cleansed. The path of obedience is the way to spiritual
health. To believe that prayer has been granted is to receive (cf. S. Mark
C. Fellowship with Christ.
That which happens after cleansing is as important as what has gone
before. When misery has led us to Christ, gratitude must send us back to
Him. The restoration from deadly sin must be followed by fellowship with
Christ, and those once blessed must be ever returning for fuller blessing.
Our praises must be as loud and as earnest as our prayers. It is very remarkable,
and can hardly be without intention, that our Church on two successive
Sundays in which she teaches true and laudable service, brings before us
the example of a Samaritan. The religious position of the Samaritans was
intensely unsatisfactory, for they worshipped they knew not what, yet in
conduct and character they surpassed many of the chosen people. True and
laudable service may be offered by many whom we are inclined to despise.
They may be among the units of the grateful, and we among the tens of the