THE WEEK OF TRINITY XIII – WEDNESDAY

LESSON: 1 CORINTHIANS 5:6‒8

Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:14

The really wicked people in God’s sight are those who are proud of their external performances, who want to justify themselves and be accounted righteous before God because of their works. The lawyer in the Gospel belonged to this class of men. What a proud ass he is! And like a proud ass, he comes to the fore. He imagines that Christ can find no fault in him. He probably even thinks that the Lord will commend and praise his life right here before all the people. It never entered his head that he might have something to learn from the Lord; he was seeking only his personal honor and glory. This coxcomb was expecting a song of praise from the Man to whom the people looked up and about whom everyone wondered.

The Lord does not really do this man a service in shaming him like He does. Christ can really be quite unfriendly and anything but kind, especially when He tells people the plain, unvarnished truth. One can understand why some people became so cross with Him. This pious, holy lawyer is still standing on his head. He has but one aim in view: to cash in on the very high reputation he has won by his holy living. He is quite sure that he has fulfilled all the commandments. He hopes to hear from Christ the commendation, “My good man, you have done everything; all is well with you.” But Christ says: “Do this!” In plain language Christ means to tell him, “You are a complete fake; you have never at any time kept this law, not even a letter of it.” He shows this man his wickedness. The poor simpleton thinks that he should be in one of the upper seats. It would be fine and clean. He would rather take his place among the angels than among these people. At times Christ can certainly be a very strange Christ.

SL 11:1539 (11‒12)

PRAYER: You have made it perfectly clear, O God, that self-righteousness never has any room to spare for Your grace and mercy. Empty our hearts of all false pride and self-righteousness, that Your grace and mercy may enter and abide there, in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. 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.