Sermon for Thanksgiving Eve 2020

  • In the Name of the Father…Amen.
  • The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this evening.
  • Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

Psalm 105:1-6

(1)  Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!

(2)  Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

(3)  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!

(4)  Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!

(5)  Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,

(6)  O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

  • Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
  • Dear family of God, imagine the scene Luke records for us.
    1. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, passing along between Samaria and Galilee.
    2. “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’” (verses 12–13).
  • The lepers had great reason, in Christ, to give thanks.
  • In those two verses, we can see the gravity in their situation.
  • First of all, having leprosy wasn’t cured by just taking a Tylenol and getting some rest.
  • As the disease would progress, attacking the nerve endings, pain would turn into numbness, and the skin would lose its original color, becoming thick, glossy, and scaly.
  • Sores and ulcers would develop, especially around the eyes and ears, and the skin would bunch up with deep furrows between the swelling so that one’s face would look similar to that of a lion—not to mention, one’s voice would become hoarse and grating.
  • If you had the signs of this disease and were declared “unclean,” you could no longer live in your community, but were basically left homeless without the support of family and friends.
  • You were considered to be cursed by God, profoundly impure.
  • If anyone came near, you had to tear your clothes, cover your upper lip, and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.”
  • So, when Jesus told them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (verse 14), that specific, biblical procedure was necessary in order for them to be declared clean, and as they started on their way, they were cleansed.
  • Yes, they were healed of that awful disease.
  • And maybe it’s even appropriate to say they were healed and freed from a death sentence.
  • That’s why Luke describes in his account how they all turned back, praising God, with a loud voice, saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
  • Oh, wait a minute.
  • That’s not correct?
  • Luke doesn’t describe it that way?
  • Well, obviously, he doesn’t.
  • In fact, only one of the former lepers turned back to praise God and thank Jesus, and that person was a foreigner, a Samaritan, one who was regarded as outside the bounds of the covenant people of Israel.
  • But all ten were cleansed.
  • Their flesh was restored, to be like that of a youth—all of them.
  • They could once again participate in their community, having a house and home and being surrounded by their family and friends—all of them.
  • Basically, they could live again—all of them.
  • And yet, only this one turned back to say thank you for his physical healing and also to praise God.
  • Yes, the one who turned back even worshiped Jesus as he fell facedown at his feet, giving him thanks.
  • We have yet more reasons, in Christ, to give thanks.
  • Dear family of God , on this day before Thanks­giving, during this time of the pandemic, our living Lord through our brother Luke also asks us today, “Where is the rest of your congregation, your Christian family?
  • Were not all cleansed by my death and resurrection?
  • Why are not all giving thanks?”
  • And he even says to you who are here,
    1. “Has your heart always been filled with thanksgiving, love, and praise toward me?”
  • He says,
  • “Didn’t I make you and all creatures?
  • Didn’t I give you your body and soul, eyes, ears, and all your members, your reason and all your senses?
  • Don’t I still take care of them?
  • Haven’t I given you clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals, and all you have?
  • Don’t I richly and daily provide you with all you need to support your body and life?
  • Don’t I also defend you against all danger, guard and protect you from all evil?
  • “And haven’t I redeemed you, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won you from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with my holy, precious blood and with my innocent suffering and death, that you may be my own and live under me in my kingdom and serve me in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as I’m risen from the dead, living and reigning to all eternity?
  • “And haven’t I called you by the Gospel, enlightened you with my gifts, sanctified and kept you in the true faith; just as I call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify the whole Christian Church on earth and keep it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith?
  • In this Christian Church, won’t I daily and richly forgive all your sins and the sins of all believers and raise you and all the dead, giving eternal life to you and all believers in Christ on the Last Day?” (cf Luther’s Small Catechism, The Creed).
  • All of this is why we can truly relate to those lepers of Jesus’ day with the same words,
  • “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (verse 13).
  • And he does.
  • Thanks be to God that he does!
  • Thanks be to God that he is merciful, patient, and loving toward us—even though we forget at times how much he truly gives us and what he has accomplished for us.
  • Thanks be to God that Jesus willingly went to that cursed tree, dying and rising for us, so that sin, death, and Satan would have no power over us.
  • Thanks be to God that he continues to prepare our hearts through Word and Sacrament ministry so that angels, archangels, and the whole company of heaven will be a reality to us and for us.
  • And yes, thanks be to God that Jesus also had you and me in mind when he said, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (verse 19).
  • Yes, salvation is truly ours because of Jesus!
  • See the Many Reasons to Give Thanks, All in Christ, to say, “Thank you, thank you.”
    1. To be just like the one leper who turned back to praise Jesus;
    2. just like Abraham Lincoln when he solidified a day of thanksgiving as a federal holiday during the Civil War in 1863;
    3. just as your parents taught you to say as a child when you received something.
    4. We say, “Thank you.”
    5. Yet, the ultimate reason we Christians give thanks and praise our living God is that he has accomplished our salvation—enabling us now and forevermore to confess personally, “Jesus is also Lord of my life.”
    6. Now, dear family of God, that’s truly a happy Thanksgiving.
    7. In the life-saving name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
  • Let us pray:

Psalm 106:47-48

(47)  Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.

(48)  Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!


  • The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
  • The Lord bless you with a blessed Thanksgiving.
  • In the Name of the Father…Amen.