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Excerpt from Martin Chemnitz’s Sermon Introduction and Outline for the Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity

Holy Gospel for Trinity 14 (ESV): Luke 17:11–19

Source (Original German): Postilla oder Auslegung (1593), Universitäts-und-Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt

Below is my translation of Chemnitz’s Outline for the Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity. May this be a blessing for your study of God’s Word, and may it help you see how our Lutheran Fathers have handled this text in the past.

Martin Chemnitz’s Introduction and Outline (1593)

“This is the short history concerning this miracle of Christi which is described in today’s Gospel. Now this is the common teaching (Lehre) shown by all the miracles of Christ: that Christ is the true (rechte) Messiah, who has done miraculous signs. The Prophets had prophesied that when the Messiah would come, he would do such things (Isaiah 29[:17–19?]). However, in addition to this common teaching, there is another particular reminder (Erinnerung), which we ought to particularly mark and pay attention to in this history, which afterward we want to point out briefly in this sermon.”

I. What we ought to remember while under the cross. Why this history is preached now.

“The beloved old [teachers] (Alten) have ordered this history to be handled in the congregation (Gemein) of God during the time when it now begins to move toward Autumn (Herbst), the time when all kinds of plagues and illnesses begin to stir, so we that remember that when God afflicts us with illnesses (Kranckheiten), that we should go to God with a repentant and believing heart, and that our faith ought to have persistence (Bestendigkeit) when God does not always and immediately take care of us, and help us in an obvious manner (Augenscheinlich), as he sometimes does, and as [Christ] did with the leper, whom he quickly heard when he said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Matthew 8[:2), since he immediately said, “Yes, I want to do it. Be cleansed” ([8:3]). Indeed, he refrains for a time and he acts as if he does not want to take care of us, and he even looks like he is mocking us, as these ten might have thought whom he sent to the priests in Jerusalem that they ought to show themselves to them and obtain the testimony from them that they were pure (rein), since at the time when Christ had commanded this, they were still full of leprosy. Even if this should happen with us sometimes, we should not allow ourselves to be led astray so that we either doubt or despair of his help, but rather that we remain steadfast (standhafftig) and hold on until we finally receive the blessing and what we desire from God the Lord, as the epistle to the Hebrews speaks about it in the tenth chapter ([10:32–39?]). This is a teaching that particularly belongs here, that in the cross we ought to find ourselves in Christ and seek help from him; and if he does not help quickly, that we do not therefore give up or turn away from Christ the Lord to other means, and seek aid and help through un-Christian means (unchristliche Mittel), such as prophecy (Wickerei), a magician’s blessing (Segnerei), sorcery (Zäuberei), or the like.”

II. [How we should learn to pray rightly while under the cross. How we should be wary of temptations to ingratitude and unfaithfulness.]

“Second is this particular teaching which is pointed out in this Gospel: How we ought to learn to pray rightly while under the cross so that we stir the heart of God so that he receives and helps, and thereafter continue to learn when he has helped us, he has heard our prayer, and we have become well, that we, therefore, remember, now that the greatest danger of all is now before us, that the Devil wants to alienate us from God and provoke us to ingratitude (Undanckbarkeit); how we, therefore, have here an awful example that when God compelled these ten men through the cross so that they had to be pious towards him, and made them well when they had become pious and called and prayed to him so humbly, then Satan immediately deviated nine of them and led them away from Christ the Lord, so that they became unthankful (undanckbar) and unfaithful (ungläubig). We should consider this in the fear of God and beware lest we also fall away and it should happen to us according to the common old proverb, “When the sick man recovered, he became worse than he ever was before” (Da der Krancke genaß, nie ärger er zuvor was), so that we do not also do the same and give cause to the good Lord Christ that he would complain about us as he complained about these nine unthankful men.”

“We want to now deal with these two points in this sermon. We want to apply all of it to ourselves and make use of it for teaching (Lehr), warning (Warnung), and improvement (Besserung). May the almighty God graciously bestow upon His Holy Spirit, Grace, and Blessing.” [Amen.]