Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity (1880

Luke 10:23-37 There are many so-called Christians especially in our time who never or even very rarely go to church, do not read God's Word at home, do not pray either in the morning or in the evening, either before or after dinner - and nevertheless hope to go to heaven, if there is a heaven. They often tell themselves: "I am certainly not a churchman, I have nothing to do with matters of faith, but I do my duty, I am diligent in my vocation, I practice philanthropy, I am a good citizen and neighbor, I cheat no one, I give to each their own, no one is able to accuse me of anything bad. What more do you want?" This is a great, dreadful blindness. For in the first place these poor people do not consider that besides their neighbor there is a God Who created them, has given everything they have to them, Who is their Lord and whose servants they are, to Whom therefore they are to serve before all things. But what would a master say if one of his servants would have his way with his fellow servants, however asked nothing from his master, would not want to serve him, despised him? The master would very soon chase such a servant from his services and home for good. Thus God, the Lord of all mankind, will also chase out of his home in heaven forever those who rely on the fact that they gave to each their own but who have not served God, their Creator and Lord, and have despised Him. But, secondly, this must still be added: while such poor people speak much about their love of neighbor; when one considers their love of neighbor more closely, one soon sees that it also is nothing but a sham. Oh, my beloved, true love of neighbor is something quite different than they now mean, which they once stand before God with their love of neighbor, yes, imagine they are able to earn heaven! In our Gospel today we are introduced to a laywer who in his blindness also meant to have not only the proper love of God, but also the proper love of neighbor, and therefore submitted the question to Christ "Who then is my neighbor" in order to justify himself, but to whom Christ said in His reply that the opposite of that is the case, what he thought of himself. So on the basis of today's Gospel the subject of our importance is: The question of the self-righteous lawyer: "Who then is my neighbor?" Here we consider 1. the reason for this question; a. the ulterior reason was that Christ had blissfully praised his disciples because their eyes would see what they saw, and their ears heard what they heard; α. what Christ wanted to say (that that is why they are thus blessed, because they would live to see not only the time of the appearing of the promised Savior of the world and would see Him with their own eyes and hear Him with their own ears, but because they also recognized Him in faith, according to which all believers of the old covenant would have longed so dearly, e.g. Eve, who at the birth of Cain broke out in joyful shout in the opinion, to have given

birth to the Savior, "I have the man, the Lord"1, Jacob, who exclaimed while dying, "Lord, I wait for Your salvation"2, David, who, when it was proclaimed to him that the Messiah would come from his family, full of unspeakable joy spoke: "Who am I, Lord" etc.3, Isaiah, who, looking at Christ from afar, already exultantly cried, "To us a Child is born" etc.4 And why all these things? Because the Day of Salvation, of grace and freedom, dawned with Christ's appearing5); β. for what reason this prompted the lawyer (for this reason: to ask the question: "Master, what must I do that I inherit eternal life?" He did not ask this question in order to be taught, but in order to tempt the Lord, namely because he would have resented the fact that the Lord had blessed His disciples that they might see what they saw and might hear what they had heard. He thought: What? Should it not be enough that we have the law of Moses? Thus today all self-righteous still are annoyed when they hear that salvation is spoken only to believers and think: What? Should it not be enough if one lives righteously?); b. the next reason for that question was that to him Christ told him he was right when he had declared the love of God and of neighbor as the certain way to eternal life, but nevertheless said to him: "If you do this, then you will live", the same as if he would not have loved God above all things and his neighbor as himself. (The blind lawyer did not doubt that he had loved God above all things because he regarded his offering and all his avid external worship as irrefutable proof of this. Christ Himself, he said, would not deny him this. Therefore he, in order to find Christ guilty of this, that he had no less fulfilled the law of loving his neighbor, now presented the question to Christ: " Who is my neighbor?" - All self-righteous still do this today. They see as a matter of course that they have kept the first table about the love of God. They think: Whoever wanted to hate God? Whoever should not want to love God? They believe their actions sufficiently prove that they have also loved their neighbor.) 2. Christ's answer to this question; a. with the parable of the merciful Samaritan, who α. does not coldly pass by in the need of his neighbor like the priest and Levite, but sympathized with this need as if it would be his own6, β. showed his affection not merely with words, but with active deeds7, γ. provided assistance not merely from his affluence, but also with his own loss 8
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Genesis 4:1. Genesis 49:18. 3 2 Samuel 7:18-29. 4 Isaiah 9:6-7. 5 2 Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 2:29ff. 6 Luke 10:30-33, "when he saw him, had compassion on him". 7 Luke 10:34. Cf. 1 John 3:17-18; James 2:15-16.

δ. ready to help not only at the first sight of the plight of the neighbor (as from mere natural feelings of compassion), but also was tireless in that respect9, and finally ε. all this love not only proved to all this love not only his friends, acquaintances, fellow believers, benefactors, or from those he had to expect recompense or even thanks, but his enemy, a complete stranger to him, who had never bestowed a blessing upon him and of whom he could expect no recompense, but more likely despicable ingratitude.10 b. by the request: "Go and do likewise"11 with which Christ revealed to the lawyer, α. that he had not yet fulfilled the letter of the commandment of love of neighbor and therefore much less the commandment to love God above all things12, his alleged love has been instead so far nothing but hypocrisy and selfishness, and β. that he therefore had to seek another way to inherit eternal life or will be lost forever.

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Luke 10:34b, "he set him on his own animal and took him" etc. Cf. Philippians 2:4. Luke 10:35. 10 Cf. Matthew 5:48. 11 Luke 10:36-37. 12 1 John 4:20.

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