Our Eternal King Comes For Us
These are the readings for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
“Hey, that’s my seat!” School children bicker over their special place. Adults look and laugh, yet we do the same when we take pains to assure that we get what’s coming to us—at work, at home, among friends and family—and that everybody sees and knows how important we are. But in today’s lessons, God tells us that our King is coming—the Almighty Ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ. Next to him, due to our sin, we are nothing. We deserve the lowest place. But in love for us, Jesus invites us to the place of honor.
First Lesson – Proverbs 25:6,7
Why does the author tell us to be careful about exalting ourselves before the King?
It is possible that there is someone of higher standing who will take the place of honor we have presumed for ourselves.
What could be the result of humbly taking a lower seat before the King?
The King may ask us to come near to him, rather than sit in such a lowly seat.
Traditional Second Lesson – Hebrews 13:1-8
Why are we told to entertain strangers, to love prisoners, to be free from the love of money, to remember our leaders?
We are reminded to be humble in all things: to entertain strangers, for we might be entertaining angels; to take care of prisoners, for one day we might be prisoners; to be content, because God provides; to remember our leaders, because theirs is a way of life worth imitating. And overall this is our eternal King, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Jesus Christ, the source of our salvation, the motivator of our humble living.
What is the comfort of the fact that Jesus Christ is the same “yesterday, today, and forever?”
He was in the beginning, creating the world. He became flesh, to save the world. He remains near us now and always, ruling over the world, watching over all things, and providing for all we need. He is our loving, Provider-King.
Supplemental Second Lesson – James 2:1-13
What must we not show, especially as we gather together as Christians? (See 2:1.)
We must now show favoritism to people who have more earthly wealth than others.
What is God’s law when it comes to others? (See 2:8.)
God insists, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
What problem do we have if we ever show favoritism to someone with wealth, even once? Or if we do not commit adultery, but we do commit murder? (See 2:10.)
If we break even one or part of God’s law, we are guilty of breaking all of it. (Picture a broken window. You can’t just replace the part that the baseball crashed through.)
Gospel – Luke 14:1,7-14
Why did Jesus tell the guests at this Pharisee’s house the parable of the wedding feast?
Jesus told the guests this parable to remind them of the need for humility. Those who think they have earned a high seat at the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven by their own good deeds will have all hopes dashed when they are turned away. It is those who humbly stand at the lowest seats saying, “I only belong here because of what Jesus Christ did for me,” who will be elevated to the places of honor.
Why does Jesus tell the host to invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to a dinner?
The Pharisee looks only to his own public image, “Who can I impress with my guest list? Who can help me out in life?” If you invite only the rich and the wealthy, what good does that do? You perhaps earn favors in this life. You pad your own sinful pride. But if from faith you understand that it is the poor and needy that need your help and comfort, even though they cannot help you in this life, you will reap a hundredfold reward in heaven.