Seventeenth Sunday after Holy Trinity
Luke 14:1-11; Ephesians 4:1-6; Psalm 2; Proverbs 25:6-14
Hymn #628 Your Table I Approach
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord has written: Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Dear Savior, our peace and light, whose holy table we approach, let no unrepented sin prove hurtful to us here; for humble hearts are sure to find forgiveness at Your hands; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
You are hereby invited to a wedding feast! I am not talking about the wedding for your best friend, or your niece or nephew, or even a grandchild. You are invited to be the bride of Christ. There is no more glorious place at the feast than to be the bride. You are the bride. Jesus is the groom. He robes you in white without spot or wrinkle for He removes the dirty old work clothes and gives a dress to impress.
Last night was the homecoming dance. Lots of beautiful dresses. Future brides. Future grooms. But today, whether you are single or married, male or female, awake or asleep, you are the bride of Christ.
What does a bride do?
First, she’s thankful because she’s at her groom’s side. It’s her day. She had it planned in detail by the end of her Kindergarden year in school. She’s at the groom’s side, but all eyes are on the bride. She lets all the people look at her. She glows. Hair, makeup, the dress. It’s her day. She’s thankful.
Second, she is gracious. I’ve been to many wedding receptions. At almost all of them, the bride and groom visit with the guests. It’s the bride’s day but she is gracious and giving to those around her. She introduces her groom to family members near and far.
Which makes the Pharisees in today’s text such a sad sight. The Pharisees are not glowing in the presence of Jesus. The Pharisees watch Jesus closely.
They all see the certain man before Jesus who had dropsy.
And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" But they kept silent. They don’t sound like glowing brides of Christ, do they?
And Jesus took him and healed him, and let him go.
Jesus is teaching you two things in this story.
First, what the Bride of Christ do to keep the Sabbath holy?
She listens to Jesus. She stays at His side. And she listens to Him again. She listens to how much Jesus loves her. She hears again how Jesus laid down His life to dress her in righteousness. She hears again how Jesus has defeated her sin and death.
You are the Bride of Christ. How do you keep the Sabbath holy?
You listen to Jesus. You come to this holy house. You hear His Word again. You hear how much Jesus loves you that He even laid down His life on the cross to forgive you your sins and give you eternal life and salvation.
If you are not glowing at Jesus’ side, then you have found your repentance for today. He is the only one who stoops down on one knee and baptizes you into His death. Turn away from all other bride-grooms; all other gods; and Jesus will receive you back. Always.
Second, how does the bride of Christ treat others?
She is gracious. She is kind. If someone has too much too drink at her wedding reception, she calls him a cab so he gets home safely. If someone eats more than their fair share at her wedding reception, she encourages him to not go home hungry.
You are the bride of Christ. How do you treat others?
You are gracious. You are kind. If someone asks you if you have signed the guest register because you haven’t been in church for a few Sundays, you aren’t offended but thank them for asking. If someone criticizes you before the Divine Service for any number of things, you also don’t get offended. Why? Because you are gracious. And you are kind. You are the bride of Christ.
A gracious and kind Christian is content to take the low positions among the body of Christ. You show kindness to the elderly and patience with the busy and hardworking.
However, when your proper place during the wedding feast is at the head table with the groom in the middle of the wedding party.
This morning, as the best-man to your wedding day, in the stead and by the command of our groom Jesus Christ, I invite you to the Lord’s Table.
You are beautiful. The Lord delights over you with thanksgiving.
Come to the feast; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard your body and soul in the Bridegroom Jesus Christ. Amen.