You are on page 1of 3

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity (1879)

Luke 14:1-11 The Gospel leads us into a high and distinguished party. One of the most respected men among the Jewish people had invited his rich friends, brothers, and neighbors who were of rank and dignity1 to the banquet. It was one of the most sacred days of the Lord in which the distinguished Jews were wont to host their acquaintances with marvelous feasts.2 The Lord, to the delight of His adversaries leaving Galilee3 and traveling to Jerusalem, is invited to the banquet, and He comes not to flatter them, but to chastise by Word and deed arrogance and pride that thus blinded them, that they despised the good things of eternal life 4 and participation in the Great Supper of God.5 Arrogance and pride are also even now the diabolical charm and spiritual intoxication which closes the hearts of people to the Gospel, which is why the Gospel should be preached even to the poor. But even those who have received humble faith in the Gospel constantly must be on guard that they are not cheated of their salvation by the insidious poison of pride, that as a main component of the corruption of original sin permeates their whole nature and is often completely hidden and insidiously threatens to kill the new man in many and various ways. For it is the unbreakable will of God that only the humble should be raised to the joy of eternal life. Therefore we take to heart well what the Gospel teaches us, namely: Whoever Exalts Himself, He Shall Be Humbled. The Lord witnesses to this Truth 1. through the action of the Pharisees, because a. these proud rulers of the people, who presumed to lay a snare for the Lord by putting a man with dropsy in His way when He entered the house6 ("He does not help him, they think, so one can scold Him, that He is ruthless and does no good to people, but He helps him however, so He is wicked, and does not keep the Sabbath."7), had to serve against their will only for the revelation of His, hated, glory that had manifested itself to all in the healing of the sick8; b. these proud teachers of the law, who in their sanctimoniousness presumed, that they would have always kept the commandment of the Sabbath, are compelled by the Lord publicly to express through their silence to His
1 2

Luke 14:12, 7. Nehemiah 8:9-12; Tobit 2:1. 3 Luke 13:31ff. 4 Luke 14:14. 5 Luke 14:24. 6 Luke 14:1-2. 7 Luther. 8 Luke 14:4.

questions that they just do not know what the Sabbath law requires of men 9, but that they are also such fools and rogues who appear to be wrong to show men blessings that one cannot refuse even to animals10; c. these proud masters in Israel who had assembled in self-exaltation in order to celebrate a delightful triumph over the Lord, and for this battle imagined themselves equipped as heroes, had to see that they were laid down with shame and disgrace.11 All their pride and their hubris, with which they themselves had increased for some time, is gone forever; here in the world their name is covered with contempt, and there [in eternity] they are doomed to eternal disgrace and shame. The Pharisees are not extinct. The Lord continues to show through action that whoever raises himself shall be made low. He shows this . in the persecutors of the Gospel through manifold revelation of His glory in the history of the Christian Church; . in the self-righteous ones through the merciless drawing to light and chastisements of their sins in the incessantly resounding preaching of the Word; . in all who would humble themselves under God through manifold exposure of their folly and shame here, and through the announcement of the condemnation there; 2. by particular instruction in a parable; from which we recognize a. that self-aggrandizing arises from contempt of God; for just as the one invited to a wedding, when he chooses for himself a seat of honor, respects for nothing the judgment of the father of the bride about his guests, and arrogates for himself his right: thus arises every self-aggrandizement from a contempt of God, His rights and His judgment over man; because from His will and grace alone everything that man is and has depends; b. that it consists in self-deception; for just as the wedding guest chooses for himself the place of honor only highly respects himself without knowing or considering whether or not more prestigious guests are present, and that he only belittles himself through his arrogance, so that even the father of the bride might not speak to him any longer as a friend, that his own esteem of his person is therefore a deceptive one: so self-aggrandizement is in all cases a self-deception, it happens either as an actual elevation over other, or is an actual judgment about one's own person, in this case it is an object of disgust12; c. that it must end in shame; for just as to the proud wedding guest, whom he saw sitting lowly among them, however the father of the bride will honor him,

Luke 14:3-4. Luke 14:5. 11 Luke 14:6 12 1 Peter 5:5; Mark 7:22-23; Proverbs 16:5, 29:23.

will give way to him, and in front of everyone now must take out of shame the lowest place, which he thought was disgraceful, only now he has honor before the guests which he did not take upon himself13: then it is God's irrevocable judgment that only He who takes no honor upon himself or to force [honor] by presumption, therefore will not deny God's gift and governing office, but from a humble heart increases in grace, however he who increases himself shall be overthrown; as Holy Scripture bears witness frequently by word and example.14 R.L.

13 14

Luke 14:10. Luke 1:51-52; Proverbs 15;25; Isaiah 57:15; James 4:10; Numbers 16:31 (Korah); 1 Samuel 31:4 (Saul); 2 Samuel 18:9, 15 (Absalom); Daniel 4:30 (Nebuchadnezzar); Acts 12:23 (Herod), and others.