THE WEEK OF TRINITY XIII – SATURDAY

LESSON: PHILIPPIANS 2:1‒4

“And who is my neighbor?”. . . “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:29, 37

The lawyer does not ask, “Who is my God?” It seems that he feels that he owes God nothing. As far as God is concerned, he is quite sure that there is nothing amiss. Nor is he conscious of any shortcomings as far as his neighbor is concerned. But he still comes up with the question, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Lord answered him by telling him a parable which shows that we are all neighbors one of another, both the man who does a good deed to another man, and the man who needs that act of kindness. In this parable, however, Christ more particularly presents the man who does an act of kindness to another as a neighbor. But Scripture uses the term “neighbor” in both senses: it calls the man who does the act of kindness a neighbor, and at times it speaks of the recipient of such an act as a neighbor.

From this parable Jesus draws the conclusion, “Go and do likewise.” This lawyer had not only sinned against God but also against his neighbor. He failed not only in his love to God but also in his love to his neighbor. He did not do good to his neighbor. We can imagine how the poor man began to sweat at the suggestion that there was nothing but evil in him from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. How could he have been so remiss, this highly learned and pious man?

This is how he came to overlook important duties: he led a pharisaical, dissembling, hypocritical life. In this sort of life he never stooped to consider the interests or welfare of his neighbor. He never even thought of helping others with his life. He thought only of his personal honor and glory before his fellowmen, and so he always kept gaping at heaven. He led the very opposite of a God-pleasing life.

SL 11:1543 (22‒24)

PRAYER: Grant us Your grace, heavenly Father, that we always keep our priorities in correct perspective, loving You with a pure heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves, in Christ’s name and to His glory. 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, 5:17-35.