THE WEEK OF TRINITY I – SUNDAY

LESSON: LUKE 16:19-31

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen.” Luke 16:19

We must not simply form an opinion on this rich man from his external conduct. He is dressed in sheep’s clothing, and his life outwardly glitters and seems beautiful, covering the wolf to perfection.

The Gospel does not accuse him of adultery, murder, robbery, or violation of law. It brings no charge against him with which the world or reason could find fault. He was just as honorable in his life as the Pharisee who fasted twice in the week and did not do what other men did, and of whom Luke also writes in his Gospel (18:11-12). Had he committed any gross crime, the Gospel would undoubtedly have mentioned it. It describes this man in such detail that it even mentions his “purple” clothing and what kind of table he kept.

These are external matters, and God does not necessarily judge any man according to them. In all probability, this rich man led a fine, holy life outwardly and according to his own thinking and that of other men, keeping the whole law of Moses. He cannot be judged simply by external appearances. One must look into his heart and judge him according to his spirit.

The Gospel has very sharp eyes; it looks into the depth of the heart. The Gospel can fault works of which reason may approve. Nor is the Gospel fooled by the sheep’s clothing. It knows how to regard the fruit of a tree, whether it is good or bad, as the Lord also says in Matthew’s Gospel, “Every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17).

SL 11:1195 (2-3)
AE 78:55-56

PRAYER: You can read our hearts, O God, and know what we really are. You are never deceived by sheep’s clothing. May we always act in love and truth towards all our fellowmen and thereby demonstrate by fruits of faith that we are Your true children by faith in Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.