Today's Reading: Luke 14:1-11
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
Humility cannot make you righteous. Even philosophers observed that humility was not a virtue 1 . When we talk about humility, we indicate a question of flaws, not perfection. The question is not are you perfectly humble? But rather this: Are you completely sinful? It’s all well and good to be nice, have manners, and be polite, but none of that really matters if in your heart you reckon that you are better than the other person.
You should not suppose, “At times, I am a sinner, but at other times, I am not.” Either you are sinful or you aren’t. It is not the righteous but the sinners whom the Gospel lifts up. Christ holds company with sinners and exalts sinners with His presence. So the sinners who have been humbled by the Law are exalted by Christ. In hypocrisy, people make themselves righteous by the Law, only to be later humbled as sinful.
The Law, however, with its thundering gloom makes us aware that we don’t even deserve the shoes on our feet. It shrinks our inflated heads, while in the flesh we really like to think of ourselves as gods. But the true God cares for you as a tender Father. He gave his only-begotten Son to become man for us. Jesus Christ took on our humiliating condition as sinners and bore our failure under the Law, in order to bring us life and salvation. We did not become true God, He became true man.
If we did not deserve our shoes, how much less did we deserve this gift, which is eternal life? He did not ask us to become worthy before He began to care for us. He imparts to us His own body and blood, in which He humbly accomplished our redemption, from heaven where He has been exalted and sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Lord, we implore You, grant Your people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow You, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, nowand forever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity 17)
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