THE WEEK OF TRINITY III – THURSDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 18:10-14

He told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ … Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’” Luke 15:3-6, 8-9

Christ is the shepherd, and He is also the woman. It is Christ who has lit the lamp, that is, the Gospel, and it is Christ who walks about in the wilderness, that is, the world, and who sweeps the house seeking the lost sheep and the lost coin. He does this seeking with His Word so that, first of all, sin is proclaimed to us and, thereafter, grace and mercy.

When we are told here that the shepherd takes up the lost sheep on His shoulders, the reference is to the fact that our sin has been laid on Christ’s shoulders. This certainly must strengthen our confidence in Christ, and this must also follow from the way in which tax collectors and other sinners flocked to Him and were received by Him. Had they regarded him as nothing but a stubborn judge, they would never have come to Him. But these sinners recognized themselves as sinners in need of His grace. And when they heard tell of His attractive words, they came to Him.

Learn from this that we should seek out our neighbor to cover his shame with our honor and to hide his sin with our piety.

SL 11:1239 (15-16)

PRAYER: It is not Your will, O Lord, that we should ever delight in the sins of others and gloat over them, but that we should rather help them to repentance and provide joy in heaven. Fix this truth in our hearts in such a way that we always act according to it, for the sake of Jesus our Savior. 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.