THE WEEK OF TRINITY XVIII – SUNDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 22:34-46

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psalm 119:18

Today’s Gospel supplies answers to two questions. The first is the one which the lawyer puts to Jesus on behalf of the Pharisees, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” The second is the question which the Lord Himself puts to the Pharisees and scribes, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?”

These two questions also concern us Christians. For anyone who wants to be a Christian must be well-informed in these two respects: first, what the Law is and what is its function; secondly, who Christ is and what he should expect from Him.

Christ here interprets the Law for the Pharisees and points out to them what is its sum. He answers in such a way that they are effectively silenced by His replies, and finish up knowing quite precisely what the Law is and what Christ is.

From this it follows that where unbelief is, although it has the appearance of wisdom and holiness before the world, it nevertheless remains folly and unrighteousness before God, especially where there is no knowledge of the two questions being discussed here. For he who does not know what the function of the Law really is, and what he should expect from Christ, certainly knows nothing of the true wisdom of God, no matter how wise or clever he may be.

SL.XI.1686,1-2

PRAYER: O God, our heavenly Father, make your holy will known to us with such clarity on the basis of your holy Law that we may cling ever more firmly to our Savior, who has fulfilled this law for us. We ask this in the name and 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, 5:169-183