Luke 17:13 and lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."

There are a lot of people in this world, who do not know what it is to be in need, they have resources which are rarely exhausted, and it may be that they cannot imagine what it must be like, to be so much in need that you cry for mercy. After all, even if you are in need, pride will keep you keep you suffering in silence for a long time. A cry for mercy, is an admission that there is nothing you can do, that you cannot save yourself, or find relief for your condition.

Jesus warned how difficult it would be for the affluent to enter the kingdom of heaven, perhaps because you are so accustomed in relying on yourself and your resources, and as long as you can take care of your needs, what need is there for a savior, or even, for God?

Many think that mercy is something that only the weak need, and may go through long periods when they never have occasion to receive mercy, and little occasion to give mercy. After all, if you can take care of yourself, other should be able to do the same, and it would be sinful to encourage lazy people to remain lazy.

Who needs mercy? We all do, some cannot see the need, because they cannot see their sin. And there are some who may see their sin, but suffer in silence, because they cannot admit that they cannot set it right, and they have too much pride to beg for mercy. But this kind of pride is sin, for it surely separates us from God. And repentance is more than a sorrow for sin, and more than a desire to change, it is also letting go of that pride, and begging for mercy.

But even that is hard to understand, because we cannot believe that you can ever get something for nothing, and so, when we approach God, often it is with the Iíll do this for you, if youíll do this for me mindset. For in that way, we can keep that pride, in that way we are not in Godís debt, in that way we can strike a bargain with God, because we have something that He wants. But that is not a cry for mercy, for mercy says, I have nothing, I cannot repay, and yet I desire you help. And when we see our sins, we see that all that we have is already forfeit, and nothing is left except a cry for mercy, or an endless suffering and torment, which is hell.

And so the Psalmist cries: Ps 41:4 I said, "O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you." Ps 41:10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me; raise me up, Ps 123:3 Have merciy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us,
All of which bring us back to our text, 10 lepers cry out to Jesus, Lord, have mercy upon us. As lepers they have lost everything, even the right to associate with other people, there is nothing left but to beg for mercy. And Jesus has mercy upon them, and cleanses them. Only one of them was fully able to receive mercy, for realizing that he had been cleansed, he returned to give thanks to Jesus. And Jesus marvels, that although 10 pleaded for mercy, only 1 was able to receive, and the only difference between the 1 and the other 9 was faith. Faith enabled the one leper to have, not a mere outward cleansing, but a full and complete cleansing, outside, and inside, for his sins were washed away.

Today we have confessed our sins, abandoned our pride, and cried unto God, Lord, have mercy upon us. And we have heard the Word, that our sins have been forgiven. We have heard the word about our God who does have mercy upon us, because he loves us, and how he invites us to come to him. And now we propose to come to the Lordís Table, to receive further assurance that our sins are forgiven, that our souls have been cleansed, and that God would grant us such grace to strengthen our faith, that we may resist temptation, and that we may seek Godís will and do it, and that we too, upon receiving such precious gifts, may also stop to return thanks. For we are daily in need of the mercy of God, and so we join with Isaiah the prohet:

Isa 33:2 O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.