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Third Sunday after Epiphany (1882)

Matthew 8:1-13 Our selected Gospel contains three divine miracles. The first is the healing of the leper. The second the healing of the paralyzed servant of the centurion at Capernaum. The third and greatest miracle is the faith of these two men, especially the centurion, about which even the Son of God is astonished. Now about which the Son of God is astonished must indeed be a miracle and is worthy of our most devout contemplation. Let us therefore, etc. True faith: a divine miracle; 1. in its nature, a. the example of the leper and the centurion shows this, . of the leper: he had little opportunity to learn God's Word, perhaps only in his youth, for he was a man full of leprosy, therefore he was excluded for a long time from hearing the divine Word, and even excluded from human contact; he could not hear Jesus as the others, perhaps he only heard the Sermon on the Mount1: nevertheless strong faith, Jesus could and would make him clean from the incurable leprosy, therefore he thought Him as God and Messiah; is this not a miracle?! - An even greater miracle of faith . of the centurion, for he had even greater obstacles of faith: he was a heathen, a soldier and lived in a very wicked city2, and yet what a strong faith!3 - Jesus is astonished about it! - The centurion certainly believes: Jesus can help, where no man has more help, for his servant was sick unto death4, thus abandoned by doctors; Jesus will help, although he is not worthy that He should enter under his roof5; Jesus can help from afar through His mere Word6, he holds Him as true God and merciful Savior; is this not a divine miracle? b. such a divine miracle is faith everywhere at all times, . because of its substance.7 Faith has to do with nothing but invisible divine things and yet is certainly irrefutable; i.e. although the believer has by nature a heart that is alienated from God and all heavenly things, full of unbelief, hatred of God, pride, self-righteousness,
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Matthew 8:1. Matthew 11:23. 3 Matthew 8:10. 4 Luke 7:2. 5 Matthew 8:8. 6 Matthew 8:9. 7 Hebrews 11:1.

blindness and folly; though he recognizes himself as an accursed sinner before God, nevertheless he embraces God as his dear father with a certain confidence, Jesus as his Savior, consoles himself of the merits of Christ with boldness, the forgiveness of his sins, his eternal salvation. Is that not a miracle? . because of the means through which faith is worked - the inconspicuous Biblical word, the Gospel of a crucified Christ8, and the contemptuous of reason Sacraments; how? is this not a miracle that a little child comes to faith through the water of baptism, that it has the heavenly kingdom?9; . because of obstacles and enemies that conflict with faith, . obstacles - in education, bad habits, prejudices, few opportunities to hear God's Word and association with believers; certain types of professions, such as soldiering, . great enemies: the devil, the seductive world, offense, bad example, destruction of the heart through original sin. What a divine miracle true faith is! Yes, it is the greatest miracle that God still works when He brings a man to faith through His Word10; 2. in its effect, a. Example of the leper and the centurion, . of the leper: . deep humility11, "worshiped Him"12, knelt before Him and said: "If you will" - he submits completely to the will of God, His Savior, . godly patience; he is willing to bear away patiently his terrible disease if the Savior considers it in His wisdom as better; . of the centurion: . deepest humility; he is a very noble and powerful man in his station13, . great love aa. for his servant; a heathen toward a slave!14, bb. for the Jewish people, so despised by the Romans15; b. such miraculous effect true faith has everywhere at all times;

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1 Corinthians 1:9; 2:14. Mark 10:14; Matthew 18:6. 10 John 6:9. 11 Matthew 8:2. 12 Mark 1:40. 13 Luke 7:3; Matthew 8:8. 14 Matthew 8:6. 15 Luke 7:4-5.

. inner change of the heart - a heart is filled with a new sense, courage, thoughts, desires, wishes, delight in God's Law, hatred of sin, God's love16, it prays.17 We love him etc.18 O that my life etc.19; . external change of life and conduct: delight in God's Word; diligence in reading and listening to the Word of God formerly despised by him, and in prayer; love toward the neighbor - merciful Samaritan20, himself against enemies21, Stephen.22 patience and joy in the cross23, godly conduct: faithfulness and diligence in vocation; denial of the world and self; in individual parts: in individual pieces: the drunkard is sober, the spendthrift thrifty, the miser generous, the fornicator chaste, the curser prays, the blasphemer praises God.24 How is such faith not a divine miracle? Yes, God alone can work such faith. Ask, and it will be given to you. Otto Hanser

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Romans 5:5. 1 John 4:19. 18 Psalm 119:5. 19 In short: Galatians 6:15 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. 20 Matthew 25:36. 21 Romans 12:20. 22 Acts 7:59. 23 Romans 5:3 (Martyrs). 24 Galatians 5:22.