THE WEEK OF TRINITY III – MONDAY

LESSON: ROMANS 5:15-17

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him … the Pharisees and the scribes murmured. Luke 15:1-2

In our Gospel, two groups are set before us as an example and for our instruction. First of all, there are the Pharisees and hypocrites. These people were regarded as models of perfection in respect to all kinds of piety and godliness. They were immersed in holiness over their ears. Secondly, there are the open sinners and tax collectors. These people were immersed in sin over their ears. For this reason, they were despised by the hypocritical “saints” and regarded as unworthy of all fellowship with them.

Christ comes in between these two groups and delivers a judgement. He points out to these “saints” that they must yield themselves in service to the “sinners,” load up the “sinners” and carry them on their shoulders and take thought how to help them out of their sins with their righteousness and piety. The “saints” do not want to accept this role. But this is truly the proper procedure here and what must be done.

The correct Christian procedure is to fall down and become completely linked with the “sinner,” no matter how deeply he is immersed in the mire of sin. This sin you must take upon yourself and wallow your way out of the mire with it, treating it just as if it were your own sin. Reproach and chastisement are necessary, and the whole matter must be treated in all earnestness. You must never despise a sinner but love him with all your heart. If you are proud and despise a sinner, there is no hope for you; you stand utterly condemned.

SL 11:1236 (6-7)

PRAYER: Fill our hearts at all times with Your grace and love, Lord Jesus, that with You we may love all sinners and lead them in faith to the victory over sin which You have achieved by Your suffering and death on the cross and now offer to sinners in Your Gospel, for Your mercy and truth’s sake. 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, 4:57-66.