Reflections: October 11, 2020
The 18th Sunday after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
"On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:40)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Love God. Love your neighbor. Every commandment teaches us to do one or the other. Our problem is that we do neither. Instead of loving God and others, we are turned inward, loving ourselves. God owes us a break. Other people should live to serve us. That's sin.
Perhaps the man asks Jesus which is the greatest commandment so that he can try to keep it. That won't work, either. No, what has to happen is that all the Law and the Prophets hang on those two commandments.
What are the Law and the Prophets? That refers to the Old Testament. What is the Old Testament about? The promise of a Savior. It's about Jesus. So let's try that: "On these two commandments hangs Jesus." Now we're getting to the heart of the Law's fulfillment.
Jesus, as true God and man, loves both God the Father and His neighbor. On the Cross, He loves His Father above all things, because He is obedient and dies for sinners. On the Cross, He loves His neighbor as Himself--even more than Himself, because He dies for every person ever. There the Law is fulfilled. Its judgment is poured out. The commandments are kept and fulfilled. There, everything that was promised by God in the Old Testament happens and comes true: The Savior keeps the Law and commandments for you.
Now, baptized into Christ and filled with His Word and Body and Blood, you love God and love your neighbor. According to the commandments, you don't. In Jesus Christ you do. And both are true, but what counts is what Jesus has done. His obedience covers your disobedience; His being punished for sin sets you free. That's how the Law and the Prophets hang on these commandments when Jesus literally hangs upon the Cross of Calvary for you.
Greatest commandment? Love God. Also, love your neighbor. Jesus did. So therefore you do, too, in Him. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, forasmuch as without You we are not able to please You, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 18th Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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