Today’s Reading: Luke 18:9-14
“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You there! Do you think you are basically a good person who does good things when given the opportunity? Do you talk about yourself and your accomplishments every chance you get? Are there more selfies on your phone than pictures of others? Is everything you do posted on social media for others to like or comment on? Do you talk trash or gossip about those who are not in your friend group or who are just plain different? That is the Pharisee in our reading. He’s self-assured, with no self-esteem issues. He’s who we all are according to our human nature. And that’s not a good thing in the eyes of God.
Stare into the mirror of the Ten Commandments. See what a poor, miserable sinner you are. See that you sin in thought, word, and deed, all the time. Confess, that is, say back to God what He says about you. You are dead in your sins and trespasses. You have sinned by your fault, your own fault, your own most grievous fault.
For you, Jesus died. God has been merciful to you, a sinner. God has in Christ Jesus absolved you of all your sins and washed them all away in the waters of Holy Baptism. The Holy Spirit brings you to repent of your sins like the tax collector does, so that the mercy of God overwhelms you with His forgiveness and justifies you because of Jesus’s death. In Jesus, you have been exalted with Jesus. Not your doing, but His doing for you.
Jesus came to save sinners. He came to show mercy to those who do not deserve it in any way, shape, or form. Jesus came for you. In mercy, the Father sent His Son Jesus to be the One who justifies, saves you, so that you can stand up straight and lift your eyes up to heaven to see the place of your salvation — Jesus on the Cross for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things that we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.(Collect for the 11th Sunday after Trinity)
-Rev. Daniel Voth, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, ND.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.