Wednesday of the Week of Pentecost

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 23:4-28; Luke 22:47-71

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we may not craftily seek to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, or obtain it by a show of justice and right, or any other means, but help and be of service to him in keeping it. (Small Catechism: 9thCommandment and Explanation)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The 10 Commandments can be summarized into two tables, as Jesus does in Luke 10:27: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." In response to Jesus' summary of the Law, the lawyer (a teacher of the Torah) asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"

Like the lawyer, we often ask the same question: Who is my neighbor? Has God really called me to love all people, even the ones who are hard to get along with? Did Jesus really say, "Turn the other cheek"? Yes, there's no getting around Jesus' command to love our neighbor, that is, anyone we meet in our vocations of home, church, and society. This includes the way we treat our neighbor's house and possessions.

The 9thcommandment exposes our sin of coveting, of looking over the fence where we think the grass is greener, the cars are faster, and the square footage is bigger. It exposes our lack of trust in God's promise to provide us with daily bread--all that we need for this body and life. It also reveals that even our thoughts and desires are soiled with sin.

Truth is, we don't love the Lord with all our heart, or our neighbors as ourselves. But Jesus does. Jesus did for you. Jesus kept the 9thcommandment in your place. Jesus loved the Father perfectly for you. Jesus loved you, His neighbor, unto death. Jesus did not covet, for you! Jesus' every desire, instead, was for your rescue, to die on the cross, rise again, and save you from every covetous thought, and from all sin. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

You shall not crave your neighbor's house Nor covet money, goods, or spouse. Pray God He would your neighbor bless As you yourself wish success. Have mercy, Lord! (These Are the Holy Ten Commands, LSB 581:10)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.