THE WEEK OF TRINITY II – WEDNESDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 9:9-13

“But they all alike began to make excuses.” Luke 14:18

These words are a comment on Christ’s words reported in Matthew: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37-38).

There are really only very few who are endowed with adequate resignation to accept this invitation. For anyone who would come to this banquet must stake everything on the Gospel—body and property, wife and child, friend and foe. He must give up everything that separates him from the Gospel, no matter how good, correct, and holy it may be.

You should not suppose that the men who excuse themselves here were gross sinners or mixed up in unjust activities and action. By no means! They could all present a very good front. It is not at all wrong to buy and carry-on business, to look after oneself well, to take a wife and marry. But we must not become involved in all these matters to such an extent that we cannot forsake them, clinging to them with all our heart. We must be prepared to forsake anything that is opposed to the Gospel. And self-denial will mean a cross.

The Gospel is a word of the cross. It will set up stumbling-blocks over which some will certainly falter. We must be prepared to forsake everything rather than cut ourselves off from God’s Word or His love.

SL 11:1212 (7-9)

PRAYER: Almighty God, whose beloved Son, for our sake, willingly offered himself to endure the cross, its agony and its shame, remove from us all coldness and cowardice of heart and give us courage to take up our allotted task and follow Him, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:33-38.