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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity


The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 281     The Savior Calls               1:29
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #259            Flung to the Heedless Winds 1:64 

A Gospel Parable – Not Law

The Communion Hymn # 308 Invited, Lord, by Boundless Grace                    1:63
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 464     Blest Be the Tie That Binds            1:39 

KJV Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

KJV Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank Thee that Thou hast granted us to live in this accepted time, when we may hear Thy holy gospel, know Thy fatherly will, and behold Thy Son, Jesus Christ! We pray Thee, most merciful Father: Let the light of Thy holy word remain with us, and so govern our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forsake Thy word, but remain steadfast in it, and finally obtain eternal salvation; through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

A Gospel Parable – Not Law

Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

There are three parts to this Gospel text, and each one is important.
  1. Blessed are the eyes which see these things.
  2. The lawyer and his question.
  3. The Good Samaritan parable.

It is tempting for some to skip the first two parts, because many ministers want to use to Good Samaritan to smite people with the Law and make them feel guilty, so guilty that they get up and do something. But the first two parts prepare the reader or listener for a parable of pure grace.

A similar example can be found in the two brief parables, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, which introduce the Prodigal Son – which is really the Parable of the Gracious, Forgiving Father – Compared to the Self-Righteous Elder Brother.

Part 1. Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.
Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Each and every day, we should say to ourselves, “We are so blessed to have this record of God’s will, this pure revelation, because the ancients longed for the comfort of forgiveness and salvation.”

The Scriptures are completely true in a world of uncertainty, deceit, and confusion. When I travel from the computer to the kitchen, I hear the music of Handel’s Messiah, which is on infinite replay near the front door. At any given time I heard phrases from the Old and New Testaments. What a difference it makes, going from the turmoil of today to the truth and certainty of God’s Word.

God’s Word is not only true but full of the Holy Spirit’s energy to create a beneficial effect in us. The blessing at the end of the service is not a holy “Good-bye” but an actual blessing from God. Those who hear and trust in those words receive the blessing imparted. The message is three-fold, The Lord stated each time. Is this not the Trinity?

The Father bless you and keep you.
The Son make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Holy Spirit lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:23f  - Jackson Living Bible.

If you are a minister or a layman who has been pushed into many fights over Christian doctrine and the Scriptures, this blessing is for you. Blessed are the eyes which see the things you are seeing. You thought you knew the Word and the Confessions, but the battles have made you appreciate the truths of the Scriptures and made you value them more than gold. If these struggles made you study and understand the Book of Concord, so much better. Those who experience no doctrinal struggles will see the Book of Concord as another book to read, instead of appreciating the greatest insights about the Bible ever put in one volume.

I often deal in historical mysteries and the arguments about them. Any historical event is a mystery waiting to be solved, and yet no one can really solve most of them. But the Bible teaches us about everything, from the ancient past to the meaning of today’s world. Every time we open the Bible or hear something from the Scriptures, we are seeing those things that people longed to know.

Part 2. The lawyer and his question.

Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Asking a question like this has been a Jewish tradition, either asking the rabbi teaching or the head of the household. The advantage is that people listen more closely. The teacher is challenged and the questioner may learn something.

The lawyer is trying to set up Jesus to tell him what a wonderful man he is. The question itself implies a Law answer – What shall I do? One church member, many years ago, was trapped in this line of thinking, not realizing that Jesus let the man trap himself. So the church member said, “The lawyer asked what shall I do? And Jesus answered – do this.”

That is a good example of having the Word but being blind to it. Jesus clearly let the man be the teacher for a moment, to expose the man’s pride and ignorance. The man wanted to show off his knowledge, and Jesus let him.

Luke 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

Jesus is saying, “Since you know so much already, why not teach everyone here? Tell them your own interpretation of the Law.”

Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Luther:
The ignorant pretender would have gladly heard a psalm of praise from the man whom the people esteemed, and at whom all men wondered. Thus all hypocrites do, who outwardly parade their excellent, great and noble works. They well say that they do not seek honor and praise, but inwardly in their hearts they are full of ambition, and desire all the world to know of their holiness, and smile very nicely when they hear men speak of it.

12. Yet the Lord does not serve this lawyer thus, but puts him to shame. This Christ is an unfriendly, ungracious man, he tells the people the truth, and well deserves that they should hate him. The pious, holy lawyer still does his utmost, and knows nothing but how to harvest great honors and obtain high renown for his precious life; he thinks he has perfectly fulfilled this commandment, and hopes for a favorable answer, that the Lord will say: Dear Sir, you have done it all. But Christ goes to work and first tells him: "Do this!" That is to say in good German: You are a rogue in the hide, you have not done this during your whole life; yea, you have not kept a single letter of the law; and thus shows him his wickedness. The poor fellow thinks he should sit in the first seat, that he is really pure and beautiful, and by rights should sit among the angels, rather than here among the people. What a wonderful Christ is this! The people regard this lawyer as pious and holy; but Christ says he shall first go and begin to fulfill the law. Be consistent with thyself!

Jesus asked the lawyer to do the teaching and then applying the teaching to himself.

Luke 10:28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

The combination is impossible to miss, because the lawyer gave himself away – willing to justify himself, he asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

We discussed this in a faculty forum recently. There is an obstinate type who will ask, “Since I have done the assignment, why don’t I have a 100%? You have given me only 95%.” I have said, “I would never give myself 100%.” The response is, “Then the scale only goes to 95, in your class.” I point out – no published work has ever been perfect, let alone homework. The self-justification continues, more as criticism, but sometimes as self-praise. “My other teachers thought I was a good writer.” 

Luther pointed out that this lawyer wanted to be seated with angels, so his holiness would be recognized. He doubtless had the praise of many people, but he wanted more. Luther began his statements about the Ten Commandments with the First Table, which people pass by so easily. They believe in God – all taken care of. But the question is whether we trust, love, and fear God above all things. No one can actually say this honestly, because this is the foundation of all sin. The answer is not to pound away at the sin, but to offer the Gospel solution to sin – justification by faith.
Part 3. The Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

The lawyer wanted a definite confirmation of his holiness, so Jesus became the Teacher and taught with this parable. Anyone can identify with this man, traveling to Jericho, falling among thieves, stripped of his clothing, beaten up, and left half-dead on the ground.

Luke 10:31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Here the point is made – the priest says he believes in God and the Law. That is his profession, but he will not even pass close by the man, to see how he might help him. No, the beaten man is left to suffer and die on the road. Thus faith in God is not genuine if it cannot be translated into love shown for our neighbor. The outward acts (or paucity of them) reveal how little faith there is.

The Bible does not separate them, as if adherence to the Christian faith in some superficial way can stop at the outward observances. This is a man who performed the sacred rights of Judaism and studied the Law and Prophets, yet he separated his professional life from his actions.

Clergy do this all the time. When another minister is in trouble for being faithful to the Word, they abandon him in droves. Some of Job’s Comforters will even call up and say, “You did it wrong.” Or “You had it coming.” Or – “You should only pick fights you can win.” The same clergy preach on this passage but kick the half-dead fellow pastor in the ribs. At least they don’t cross the road! The come right over and deliver a good kick before walking away.

Luke 10:32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

Here is an important detail. There was no missing the beaten man. The Levite looked him over and made sure he walked on the other side of the road.

Lenski:
Used and trained to the heavy work in the Temple as a Levite, also near all its sacred teaching, this man, too, passed by on the other side. This expression in the illustration has become proverbial for refusing aid to sufferers.
Both men had their excuses: robbers were near, and they might be assaulted; the man was too far gone, and what could they do? To be found near the man might cast suspicion on them.
[1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 605

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
Lenski:
We naturally lose much of the force of this illustration because we cannot enter into the feeling of hostility that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. The latter were of pagan stock and not of Jewish blood; were cursed publicly in the synagogue with the prayer that they might have no part in the resurrection of life; were never accepted as proselytes; to eat their food was equal to eating swine’s flesh; it was better to suffer than to accept their help; the Jew wished never to see a Cuthite (base name for Samaritan); and other evidence of this extreme hatred. In John 8:48 the name “Samaritan” was hurled at Jesus. The Samaritans retaliated in kind (9:53). The fact that Jesus made the man who showed love so perfectly in this illustration “a Samaritan” must have caused a sensation.
[1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 605.

This is already starting to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Because faith in God must be so great that we help the Samaritan, the one who is being shunned and abused, instead of passing by on the other side. Every culture, every situation has its own Samaritan.

But this figure is also used to show us God’s grace, because the Samaritan is Jesus. The parable does not solve the problem of sin with the Law but with the Means of Grace, as exemplified by the Samaritan.

Just as everyone in need is a neighbor, so is every neighbor Jesus. “When did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked, and in prison?” As often as you did it for the least of all my brothers, you did it for Me.

Luke 10: 34a And went to him, and bound up his wounds…
This is the part where the political activists use their law to make people feel guilty. The true activists say that helping out is not enough – they must make the road to Jericho safe! Although I fail to see this insight in the parable itself, it was the conclusion of Walther Rauschenbusch, the father of the Social Gospel Movement, which was the agenda of FDR’s administration. I could write a dissertation about that. Wait, I did.

No surprise – Rauschenbusch was a liberal who re-imagined (as they say) every doctrine of the Apostles Creed. Apostasy cries out for a substitute religion, and that is always a religion of works. For example, The CORE in Appleton feeds the hungry, as long as they attend church to help the numbers stay up.

The Samaritan Christ figure first has compassion. Next He goes to him. In the same way, Christ comes to us in the Word and Sacrament, often through family and friends. It may be that an antagonist is the person who breaks through with the Gospel. The wounded man cannot crawl to the Samaritan. Thus the lost, condemned, blinded sinner cannot find Christ, so Christ comes to him.

He binds the wounds. Christ does not begin with blaming the man for traveling to Jericho. “What were you thinking?” If sin could be conquered with accusations and blame, there would be no sin left in the world. The Gospel is first and foremost comfort, the forgiveness of sin.

Because we imagine we do not sin, we are inclined to encounter obvious sin with blame. The Law definitely diagnoses the sin, just as the x-ray shows the broken bones. But the time to turn off the x-ray does not always come for many. They get even more law which they cannot fulfill and they despair.

Luke 10:34b pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.



The comfort of the Gospel is more than the absolution. Here we see the Samaritan-Christ using both oil (comfort of the Gospel) and wine (the sharpness of the Law) to heal this man.

In “All Creatures Great and Small” the vets often start out with sharp instruments, carving away rotten flesh, infections, and malformations. One farmer had a diseased hoof waved in his face until he fainted and knocked over the poor vet. After the cutting away, the comfort of oil, medicine, and lotions are used.

Christ does not say, “Do whatever you want. You are already forgiven.” That would be like bandaging an infection so it grows under the skin until the limb and the life are lost. But He does not cure sin with the Law, which would be like daily cutting until the limb disappears from surgery and the life is lost. Needless to say, many people identify Christianity with hardness of heart (no compassion) and constant guilt (no forgiveness).

All Gospel (as claimed) is never all Gospel, because man’s own law jumps in, for balance, I suppose. The more the Ten Commandments are broken in the Second Table (4-10), the more new commandments are substituted:
  1. Thou shalt not disagree with Holy Mother Synod.
  2. Thou must not question a false teacher for being a false teacher.
  3. Thou must not telleth the truth about what goeth on here.

The many steps taken by the Samaritan to bring the man back to health represent the many ways in which God takes care of us.
  1. Oil and wine.
  2. Binding the wounds.
  3. Placed on the beast – nearly dead indeed.
  4. Taken to the inn.
  5. Provided care.
  6. Innkeeper promised more compensation if needed

This reveals the abundance of grace showered upon us through the Means of Grace. Thus there is perfect balance between justification by faith and the Christian life.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The emphasis is clearly on the connection between the grace and compassion of Christ toward us and the compassion we should have, show, and put into action for others. These are actions motivated by God’s love for us and channeled as our love for the neighbor.



Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
Covenant and Grace

"The Old Testament dealt with the promises of God to the chosen people. Thereby God placed Himself in 'covenant' relation to Israel (berith). This relation, like the promises and the gifts of God to Israel, is always onesided. It is always God's covenant, not Israel's, and not a mutual agreement, not a suntheke. This promise and covenant indeed obligates Israel, and Israel assumes these obligations, but the covenant emanates entirely from God."
            R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1938, p. 235. Hebrews 7:22;        

"To be sure, Baptism is so great that if you turn from sins and appeal to the covenant of Baptism, your sins are forgiven. Only see to it--if you sin in this wicked and wanton manner by presuming on God's grace--that the judgment does not lay hold of you and forestall your turning back. And even if you then wanted to believe and trust in your Baptism, your trial might by God's decree, be so great that faith could not stand the strain. If they scarcely remain in the faith who do no sin or who fall because of sheer weakness, where will your brazen wickedness remain, which has challenged and mocked God's grace? Let us, therefore, walk with care and fear that we may hold fast the riches of God's grace with a firm faith and joyfully give thanks to His mercy forever and ever. Amen."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 57. Treatise on Baptism, 1519  

"And, in a word, it remains eternally true what the Son of God says, John 15:5: Without Me ye can do nothing. And Paul, Philippians 2:13: It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. To all godly Christians who feel and experience in their hearts a small spark or longing for divine grace and eternal salvation this precious passage is very comforting; for they know that God has kindled in their hearts this beginning of true godliness, and that He will further strengthen and help them in their great weakness to persevere in true faith unto the end."
            Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 14. Free Will Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 885. Philippians 2:13; John 15:5      

"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."            
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 10 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919.        

"Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered to us in the promise of the Gospel."
            Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 31 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 925. 


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