Trinity 2 Service 6/21/20




Laache Devotions for Trinity 2

Our Devotional Life


Sermon:

Holy Gospel – St. Luke 14:16–24

The Invitation to the Great Supper

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”


Our text is all about what St. Peter described to his readers as, “the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9). The Great Banquet is an illustration of that. In the Collect this morning, we’re asking that the Lord preserve us in this faith by helping and governing us. The desired outcome of our faith is that we say on the Last Day, along with those mentioned in our Old Testament lesson, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us.” The Epistle lesson reminds us that the devil, and the world, and our flesh will oppose us on the way to this end.


You have been invited to a great banquet. That’s what you’re meant to see from Jesus’ parable. God is the man who has prepared the great banquet. He is the one who has invited many guests. You are one of those guests who have been invited.


This invitation hasn’t come to you from a servant sent to tell you of it, like in the text. It has, however, come through a servant who sprinkled water on you in Baptism - connected with God’s Words, or who preached the message that you heard and believed through the power of the Holy Spirit. God invited you in this way, to His great banquet.


And this is a very good thing. Our Old Testament lesson is talking about what you have been invited to, when it says, On this mountain [God] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth.


St. John tells us in the Epistle lesson, in just what way God has done this: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. Jesus’ innocent suffering and death on the cross removes your death shroud - the sheet that covers you - in that it turns your death into something other than it would have been. It isn’t, anymore, an everlasting punishment of your guilt (Jesus endured that in His own death); it is an entrance to what our Catechism calls, the blessed fellowship of the saved with God in heaven, where they are freed from all evil and live with God in endless joy and glory (2001 ed., p.150, ques.224).


But…; that’s what Jesus’ parable says just after it announces that a banquet has been prepared, guests invited. “But[…]they all alike began to make excuses. Again, you have been invited in your Baptism, in your hearing of God’s Word. There’s something at stake for you this morning. Wouldn’t be any reason to listen otherwise, right? You have something to lose, here, that it would be tragic to have lost.


When we connect the men’s excuses in the parable, for why they can’t attend, to the reaction of the man holding the banquet, it goes a little something like this: bought a field… bought oxen…got married…ANGRY. The outcome of this rejection is very different from what we said earlier is the outcome of faith. It isn’t - like that - salvation, here. Rather, it is these words from the man having invited them to the great banquet: “Not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”


The thing about these excuses from the men, for why they just couldn’t make it, is that there isn’t anything wrong with just bought a field, must go and see it; or, just bought five yoke of oxen, have to go and try them out; or, just got married. Those aren’t bad things; they’re good things! Why the anger, then, from the man?


Jesus was making the same point when He visited Mary and Martha, wasn’t He? Martha was angry at having to do all of the preparing of the meal while her sister sat listening to Jesus. Jesus said, One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). There wasn’t anything wrong with Martha preparing a meal for Jesus with love in her heart. God’s kingdom is the most important thing, though. If there is a choice to be made, it’s God’s eternal kingdom over this world’s temporary things. Seek first that kingdom, Jesus told His disciples one time when there was question about whether they would have all of the things they need in this world. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).


Jesus perfectly sought first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. The devil offered Him alternatives while he was tempting Him in the wilderness. He offered to satisfy His hunger, and to fulfill for Him the kind of desires that ordinary men would have. Jesus clung to God’s Word as the end of the discussion.


The same when Pilate was trying to release Him; had He offered anything Pilate could have used to dissuade the crowd… Pilate was begging Him to offer something in His own defense. The passive obedience of Him offering Himself unto death as the sacrificial Lamb of God was the way of perfect righteousness. So that’s what He did.


You haven’t followed that way of perfect righteousness, though, have you? What would be your just bought a field, must go and see it as an excuse for neglecting God’s kingdom and His righteousness?


Martin Luther writes in his Large Catechism of what should compel us to daily pursue God’s kingdom above all else. He writes: We should feel bound well enough by God’s command alone. He solemnly commands in Deuteronomy 6:6–8 that we should always meditate on His precepts, sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising. We should have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant mark and sign. Clearly He did not solemnly require and command this without a purpose. For He knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious assaults and temptations of devils. He wants to warn, equip, and preserve us against them, as with a good armor against their fiery darts [Ephesians 6:10–17] and with good medicine against their evil infection and temptation.


The point in Jesus’ parable is that, as a result of your sinful nature, you tend to prioritize God’s kingdom below other things in this life. You tend to make it something you pay close attention to only if you have leftover time and energy. When you have done this, you have chosen this world over God’s kingdom in the process, like the men in the parable who had other things to do when the invitation to the banquet arrived.


Jesus was directing this parable at the ones who should have known God the best, the leaders of the Jews. They had come from true believers who knew the true God, but had come to trust in their own righteousness rather than that of the Savior that God was providing.


You know better too. You know the true God. You know the value of the invitation that has been extended to you. You know that prioritizing God’s kingdom out of your life is the same as trusting in your own righteousness before God. What else is there? If your moments, and hours, and days are spent apart from God making you righteous, then you are considering yourself to be righteous without Him. And in that case, Jesus is warning in our text, you are in danger of having rejected God’s invitation, and of having it said of you, that you will not taste of His banquet.


Learn of God’s persistent grace in the later details of this text. The man orders his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ Someone will make use of the places at this banquet. God’s nature is that He loves. He loves every person that He has made. He wants every person to be with Him in His kingdom. He continues to seek out the lost so that they might return to Him and say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us.”


His grace has continued to be extended to you. You hear the message of it at this moment, with the Holy Spirit working powerfully to produce and to strengthen faith in your heart, its fruits in your life. The Lord compels you to come in, like He did to the Israelites to whom He spoke through the prophet Ezekiel and said,  I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?


‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ Those were the words of the invitation sent out by the man in our text. You might have noticed that sometimes, those same words are said in the communion liturgy. As the pastor is welcoming you, as communicants, to come forward to receive the true body and blood and Christ, given and shed for the remission of your sins, he says, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ That banquet is a smaller celebration of the great banquet on the Last Day in God’s kingdom. Christ is there, present. You, as believers, are there to commune with Him, and with one another. You are receiving from Christ Himself, the food that brings about the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. That food is being used by the Spirit to strengthen and comfort you because your spiritual enemies oppose that end, offering this world’s alternatives as substitutes for God’s gracious invitation. They want you to lose this salvation that it would be tragic to have lost.


But God’s grace is persistent. He continues to work in the hearts of all who receive His Word and Sacrament. He preserves them in the Baptismal faith that forgives sins, and that saves for all eternity. You are forgiven through that preserving too. He preserves you in that same faith so that you anticipate God’s eternal blessings in His kingdom. God be praised. Amen.


collect of the Day

O Lord, You never fail to help and govern those whom You bring up in Your steadfast fear and love: Make us ever revere and adore Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.


Old Testament – Isaiah 25:6–9

The Feast of the Lord

On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”


Gradual

In my distress I called to the Lord,

And He heard me.

Deliver my soul, O Lord,

From lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.

God is a just judge,

And God is angry with the wicked every day.

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers,

Praise Him and highly exalt Him forever.


Epistle – 1 John 3:13–18

The Apostle Speaks to the Church in the World

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.


Holy Gospel – St. Luke 14:16–24

The Invitation to the Great Supper

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

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