Trinity 17 2022 (Lk 14, 1–11)

Photo by Hitesh Dewasi on Unsplash

Audio: iTunes | Spotify | Download

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the One who humbles Himself will be exalted.”

᛭ INI ᛭

(5. Oops!: Entitlements turn to gods.)

Human beings are good at making gods. It’s sort of our thing. The human heart is constantly looking for things to exalt as god, things that really exalt us, lift us up, make us feel better. The gods that humans set up are often reflections and imitations of our own hearts. If you look at the ancient Greek gods, for example, it’s almost like Mt. Olympus was a high school based on how the various deities treated one another and the humans who worshiped them.

Today, humanity has moved past such personal deities or statues or temples. Our idols, our false, our idolatry is tied to ideas. You can’t find a religious temple, a place of worship, dedicated to them. The true God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) gets swapped out for something else. For Charles Darwin, in terms of the Creed, “God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,” was swapped out for Natural Selection. Darwin often capitalized “Natural Selection,” as well as many things in his Origin of Species. In older Bible translations, capitalization revealed when God was being talked about, and so, for Darwin capitalizing “Natural Selection” confesses its god-like power of running the natural world.

There are other things, we as Americans idolize, turn into idols. They’re emblazoned in the Declaration. That we have “certain unalienable Rights (capitalized), that among these are Life (capitalized), Liberty (capitalized) and the pursuit of Happiness (capitalized).” Now, these are certainly good gifts that we can receive properly from our heavenly Father’s merciful hand. But capital “R” “Rights”, capital “L” “Life” and “Liberty,” capital “H” “Happiness,” points in a different direction than just good gifts. Especially, how we treat such things today.

(4. Ugh!: We often act entitled.)

“Rights” are things to which you’re entitled. Entitlements abound! Rights abound! Chapter 36 of US Code Title 7, for example. More and more all the time. Old ones cast off for better ones. New ones fashioned and crafted for each generation. Rights and entitlements are defended with religious devotion. The fight for new ones is fought with religious zeal. These are the idols of modern man.

It’s not just politically. We act entitled all the time with the people around us. We expect to be treated a certain way. Parents, instead of rejoicing in a godly honor from their children, act with a sense of entitlement toward their children. Children toward their parents. We expect, feel entitled, to be treated in a certain way by people above us, people below us, or the people right next to us. And heaven help them if they do not live up to our entitlement, our rights, our expectations.

This is just Old Adam’s game of setting himself up as god. The things and ideas that help him personally are set up as gods. The things that don’t are demonized. (“Despotism” is also capitalized in the Declaration.) Old Adam wants to exalt himself, wants to be god in God’s place. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the One who humbles Himself will be exalted.”

(3. Aha!: THE ONLY THING YOU’RE ENTITLED TO IS THIS: A FREE SPOT AT JESUS’ WEDDING FEAST.)

You’re not entitled to anything you can demand from God. You’re not entitled to anything you can expect from God. “He sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous” because of “His fatherly, divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness in me.” God doesn’t owe you anything. Well, that’s not quite true?

What do you deserve from God? You just confessed that: “deserved temporal death and eternal damnation.” “The wages of sin,” sin’s payment, sin’s due, what sin deserves, what you deserve because of your sin, “is death.”

You’re entitled to nothing in yourself. But even though you deserve nothing you are still entitled to things. Not by way of personal rights or what you deserve, but by way of God’s promises in Christ Jesus.

THE ONLY THING YOU’RE ENTITLED TO IS THIS: A FREE SPOT AT JESUS’ WEDDING FEAST.

(2. Whee!: He exalts you through His humility.)

There’s no need to claim and demand the best position at His Table. (Which is what we do by sinful nature.) He gives the best spot away for free. He gives His spot to you, even as He claims yours as His own. As Jesus says, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the One who humbles Himself will be exalted.”

He really fulfills that statement for you. There’s no need to keep up the “me first” fight with God and with each other. Jesus who is First became Last for your sake. As Jesus also says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Or as Paul puts it: “[He who was] in the form of God did not count equality with God as something to be stolen, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death, even death on the cross.”

He takes our rebellious spot. He takes our lowest place—death as Sinner of sinners! You are exalted, lifted up by His humility. As the Psalm puts it, “He lifts the needy from the ash heap.”

That’s you get what He promises! He promises a seat at His table. He earned it. He gives it.

THE ONLY THING YOU’RE ENTITLED TO IS THIS: A FREE SPOT AT JESUS’ WEDDING FEAST.

(1. Yeah!: He prepares you, heals you, for His banquet today and forever.)

You don’t have to do anything for it. There’s no need to set up ways and rules and entitlements for it, like the Pharisees wanted to do with Jesus, healing on the Sabbath. He prepares you, heals you, so you can attend His banquet, His feast today and forever.

Just like the man with dropsy was healed, so also Jesus “forgives all your iniquity, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” That’s not just Calvary and Easter but your baptism day, each time you hear His Word, each time you are absolved of your sins.

Now you can eat and drink at His table. The table of forgiveness today in His body and blood. (That’s the faith toward God aspect of Communion, which should not be set at odds with the love toward one another aspect.) No entitlement to the Sacrament. (“When you go to a wedding do not take the best seat.”) It’s His free gift—His body and blood—for forgiveness, so that you’re prepared (see, He prepares you, not you)—you’re prepared for the one thing He’s promised:

THE ONLY THING YOU’RE ENTITLED TO IS THIS: A FREE SPOT AT JESUS’ ETERNAL WEDDING FEAST.

᛭ INI ᛭

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close