Nestled amid the excerpt from Jesus’ sermon is the Word we need: “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” There is a greater need than anything your body wants. There is a pang of hunger that no quick bread can satisfy. There is a covering for your naked shame and guilt that won’t decay and wear out. What you need and what Jesus gives you today, tomorrow, and always is His righteousness.
This leper’s sin-ravaged body, covered in bandaged sores, agrees with St. Paul, who later confessed—that all our works are nothing but filthy garments. Jesus had broken this Samaritan out of the prison house of doom, where death had royal scope and room. He healed the leper as a free gift, without any merit or worthiness in him. Jesus healed him because that’s what Jesus does. He has mercy on those whom He has mercy. Why would he go anywhere or to anyone else?
Jesus is working by command and parable to utterly humble you into confession. He is not setting up for you another example of pious living that will save you. Instead, He is pointing you away from yourself, your own boasting, and your mistaken righteousness. He’s returning you to faith in Him, who justifies and saves freely out His gracious giving. For Christ alone is your righteousness, your redemption, and your salvation. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Gate, the Ladder, and Step by which you are brought to the Father.