THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVII – THURSDAY 

LESSON: 1 PETER 4:7‒10 

“Which of you, having an ass or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” Luke 14:5 

He means to say here, “You fools! Are you not quite mad and foolish? You do this for an ox or an ass, worth perhaps a few florins; much more should you be prepared to do it for your neighbor when he has need of your help, regardless of whether it happens to be a Sabbath day.” For the Sabbath, as He points out elsewhere, was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Hence, the Son of Man is lord also of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27‒28). 

Laws like the Sabbath laws received great emphasis among the Jews; their kings also laid great stress on them. They had to be strictly kept. When the prophets appeared and tried to interpret the Law in accordance with love, insisting that this is also how Moses meant the Law to be understood, there were false prophets at the royal courts who stuck fast to the text, claiming, “There it stands written; it is God’s Word, and it dare not be interpreted otherwise.” No matter how loudly the prophets insisted on the correct understanding, they encountered nothing but deafened ears. Not only this, but the kings, poor blind men that they were, started up and killed one prophet after the other. 

Ecclesiastical authorities follow much the same procedure even today. If one tells such people that we are not obliged to obey all their laws but only those slanted towards love, they immediately cry out, “Heretic, heretic!” And if they can do so, they put such a heretic to death, as they have already done quite extensively. 

SL 11:1680 (15‒16) 
AE 79:154‒161 

PRAYER: Lord God, heavenly Father, You have shown us extensively in Your Word, but more especially in Your Gospel of salvation, that with You love is always everything. Implant Your love in our hearts that we may live by it in our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.