Reflections: The 18th Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Matthew 22:34-46
Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 4:1-20; Matthew 7:13-29

Which is the great commandment in the Law? (Matthew 22:36)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Pharisees often tried to trick Jesus by asking Him questions that don’t have good answers. Ask your dad which one of his children is his favorite. There’s no good answer. So which commandment is the great one? Are there any of the Lord’s commandments that are lesser or greater than another?

We all have a little Pharisee in us. We all try to get around the Lord’s Word here or there. You might think that this sin might not be too bad because it isn’t one of the BIG sins. Right? Can you covet so long as you don’t steal? Can you look, but not actually commit adultery? Can you just hate someone and speak against them without murdering them? That is a very dangerous game.

Good news, though. Jesus doesn’t play that game. He refuses to rank the commandments. Instead, He sums up the whole entire Law in two concepts: Love God and love your neighbor. That is all. You cannot itemize and rank your sins. You either love God and your neighbor or you don’t.

It is not as if Jesus came to die for the little forgivable sins, but not for the big bad ones. He came to deal with all of your sins, whether you think they are small or great. The truth is that all sin is committed for the same reason: that we do not fear, love, and trust in God above all things. We let our idolatries run our lives, and so we commit all kinds of sins against God and our neighbors, precisely because God is not put first.

So, when you find yourself asking whether or not one sin is worse than another, remember the Pharisees. Don’t do that. Do not play that game. It leads to death. Repent of every last one of your sins, and see that Christ has died for every single one of them. All of the Law and prophets depend on this, for these all look forward to their fulfillment in Christ. He has come to forgive all sins, even the little ones. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O God, because 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)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch