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Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity (1905

Luke 14:1-11 Everything that we are and have is God's gift and present.1 But above all, eternal life is a present of the free grace of God in Christ Jesus.2 This God can communicate and appropriate to us sinners and unworthy ones through His Word. It is evident from all of this that no one has reason to be proud and arrogant, to rise above others, or even against God and His Word and to claim salvation on the basis of his works. Whoever nevertheless exalts himself robs God of the honor due Him and incurs His displeasure and His disgrace.3 God the Lord also makes sure that those who exalt themselves are decreased, humiliated.4 Today's Gospel also imprints this truth on us and especially the last verse. "Whoever Exalts Himself, He Will Be Humbled." The Lord confirms this truth 1. by the fact that He puts to shame the arrogant wisdom of His enemies. a. V. 1-2. The Pharisees and Scribes were such people who, proud of their own wisdom, set all sorts of commandments of men instead of the Word of God.5 Their arrogant wisdom and their contempt of the Word of God made them bitter enemies of Christ. With the intention to destroy Christ and to trap him, the chief had invited Him to dinner on a Sabbath day and brought it one suffering from dropsy. If the Lord Christ would heal him, then the Pharisees would accuse Him before people of desecrating the Sabbath; if he would not heal him, then they would accuse Him of ruthlessness. The Lord could not escape them, they thought in their self-presumption.6 As these enemies of Christ, thus arises the false Church and unbelievers in God and His Word. They set their own wisdom in His place, probably also to seek all sorts of contradictions and atrocities in God's Word to ridicule and subvert it. But in vain.7 b. V. 3-6. The Lord notices the cunning and the plan of His enemies. Against His wisdom, all the wisdom of his enemies is only folly.8 To the question that was implicit in their hearts, He provides a counter-question.9 With this question, He hits their hearts and consciences, so that the "No" does not want to pass over their lips.10 Subsequently He demonstrates by the healing of the man with dropsy that it is right, however, to help a sick man and miserable people on the

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1 Corinthians 4:7; James 1:17. Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8. 3 Isaiah 42:8; Proverbs 16:5. 4 Luke 1:51. 5 John 8:47; Matthew 15:9, 23:23. 6 Cf. Luther XIII:894. 7 Jeremiah 8:9; Numbers 14:41. 8 Colossians 2:3. 9 Luke 14:3. 10 Luke 14:4a.

Sabbath.11 Following this miraculous healing He finally maintains His deeds and actions by pointing to their own actions, which they regarded as quite right and allowed.12 They could not answer Him with any Word thereafter.13 They were just entirely overcome by Him and their consciences were chastised.14 Thus the Word of the Lord is always, even in the mouths of His disciples and servants, powerful, chastising and convicting the enemies of the Truth inwardly in their consciences, that they could not stand against it, it also cannot deny that it is sin not to believe in Christ, and that children of the world together with their princes of wickedness are already judged.15 Nevertheless, if they are not willing to leave their wickedness nor submit themselves under the Word, then corruption will be all the more certain and that right soon. 16 The Lord confirms this last word also 2. by the fact that He profoundly shames the virtuous pride and self-righteousness of his enemies. a. V. 7. While one took a seat at the meal, the guests then endeavored to take up the most honorable and best places. This arrogant behavior was an outflow of their arrogance and virtuous pride. All self-righteous people have the same sentiments. They elevate and place themselves over not only their fellow men but are also proud and self-righteous before God, they demand salvation from Him and probably also have a special place of honor in heaven as a well-deserved reward for their piety.17 But even such virtuous pride and arrogance can only bring them harm. b. V. 7-11. The Lord, who had noticed the ambition of these guests, will even now lead his enemies to true self-awareness and repentance and tell them a parable for this purpose. V. 8-10. Through these clear, simple words the virtuous pride and self-righteousness of these people were exposed in the most delicate way and they were asked most emphatically to repentance in this way. The self-righteousness and virtuous pride are already found in others little love and favor and can only be put to shame before God. They are here already excluded from the kingdom of God18 but will learn the most bitter disappointment and deepest humiliation when they want to sit down with the true children of God yonder in eternity at the heavenly table19; for only the humble who humiliate themselves and want to be saved only by grace shall be exalted and enter into the kingdom of grace here and into the kingdom of glory there.20 J.H.

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Luke 14:4. Luke 14:5. 13 Luke 14:6. 14 Cf. Matthew 12:14. 15 Matthew 22:21-22, 33, 46; Acts 6:10; Hebrews 4:12. 16 Psalm 7:12-16; 2 Peter 2:1; Luke 14:11a. 17 Luke 18:11-12; Isaiah 52:8. 18 Luke 18:14; Galatians 2:16. 19 Matthew 15:13-14, 22:12-13. 20 Proverbs 29:13; Matthew 18:4; 1 Peter 5:5; for Luke 14:11b; KELG 277:2.