Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 8:18-9:12; Matthew 23:13-39
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (The Small Catechism: Table of Duties – To Everyone)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Martin Luther once wrote, “The Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. The Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.”
It’s not a contradiction. It’s a paradox, one of many paradoxes of the Christian faith and life. We are justified freely by God in Jesus crucified for us. It’s free. Grace. No conditions, strings attached, or small print. And, because we’re free from having to earn or merit our salvation, we are also free to love and serve our neighbor out of love. God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.
This is often called the second table of the Ten Commandments, Commandments 4-10. These Commandments deal with our life before our neighbor—Coram Hominibus in the Latin. On the one hand they teach us how treat our neighbor. God gives us His gifts for our life together: authority, our physical lives, sexuality and marriage, possessions, reputation, and contentment in God’s gifts.
On the other hand, these Commandments also reveal our need for a Savior. For we daily sin much and have broken every one of these Commandments in thought, word, and deed. When the mirror of the Law is held up before us, it shows us our sin, that we have failed to love our neighbor as ourselves.
In truth, there’s only one Man who has ever truly and perfectly loved His neighbor as Himself. Jesus became our neighbor, brother and redeemer by becoming man to save us. Jesus loves us by keeping the Law, all Ten Commandments, in our place, and by suffering the punishment we deserved on the cross. Such is Jesus’ love for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. -Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz
These are the holy Ten Commands God gave to us by Moses’ hands When high on Sinai’s mount he stood, Receiving them for our good. Have mercy, Lord. (These are the Holy Ten Commands, LSB 581:1)