Reflections: The First Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 16:19-31

Daily Lectionary:Proverbs 22:1-21; John 18:1-14 

He said to him, “If they do not hearMoses and the Prophets,neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
(Luke 16:31) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The two men in our text couldn’t be any different. One feasted sumptuously. He had more than he ever needed, more than enough to support this body and life. He ate what he wanted, and lived how he desired. The other man had nothing. He lay in ruins. Sores covered his diseased body from head to toe. His only companions were the filthy dogs licking his sores, making him continually unclean. 

It’s clear, from the world’s perspective, which man was more favored. When you lack for nothing, when everything is placed at your fingertips, when life is easy and blessed and perfect all of the time, it’s obvious that you live a semi-charmed kind of life. And this has to be because the Lord up above is pleased with you, for some unknown reason. If you want any proof, all you have to do is look at your temporal surroundings. 

But then when you do, you realize that everything isn’t always so wonderfully perfect. Truth be told, your life probably resembles the leprous poor man’s than it does the rich guy’s. And if that is true, then you probably find it pretty easy to believe that your life is garbage for a reason. Some sin that you have committed along the way has made God so angry with you that He is going to curse you for however long it takes you to die.  

But that’s just it: Both men die, which means that they were both sinners, despite how it may have appeared. But only one of the men had a name, Lazarus. His name was known by God. He was known by God. And this certainly couldn’t have come from his sinful self. The name had to be a gift.

It’s a Name that comes in the baptismal waters which cleanse you in the blood of Christ and make you alive in His empty tomb. It’s a Name that speaks against everything that sin, death, and the world declare you to be. It’s a Name that makes you partakers of the wondrous glories of heaven. Before the Father, a name means everything, and you have one for the sake of Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

O God, the strength of all who trust in You, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing, grant us Your grace to keep Your commandments that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the First Sunday after Trinity)

-Rev. Eli Lietzau is pastor of Wheat Ridge Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, CO.

Audio Reflections speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Come on an adventure with author Eric Eichinger as he unpacks the saga of Jesus’ Hero Journey. You’ll see how aspects of this journey are seen in popular stories, and how God used Jesus to create the most action-packed one with a real Savior for all. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.