In Nomine Iesu!
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit before Sermon:
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Samaritan and only Mediator, Who, seeing us in our guilt and blood, didst have pity upon us, and of Thy infinite mercy didst give Thy innocent blood in payment for our sins that we might live, we humbly thank and praise Thee, that Thou hast saved us from destruction, and by Thy holy Word hast brought us to the saving knowledge of Thee, our only Savior and Redeemer; and we beseech Thee, enable us by Thy Holy Spirit to love Thee, the true God, with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves, that we may show mercy on all men in their need, bind up their wounds with tender care, and ever in this evil world follow Thy example of love and service, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Three times today in the Introit and the Gradual we sing, “Have respect to Your covenant, O Lord; Oh, do not let the oppressed returned ashamed. Arise, O God, plead Your own cause; Do not forget the voice of Your enemies.” That this phrase is repeated tells us that it is important for our ears to hear it, and our minds to meditate upon it today, so that our lips can proclaim it with our full understanding. In singing these words the first thought that should come to our minds is, “What is the “covenant” of the Lord? That is told to us in the Epistle reading from St. Paul’s Epistle to the churches of Galatia. The covenant that our Lord has made with all those who cling to Him in faith is the promise of the “Seed.” The Seed of Abraham would come to deliver mankind from the oppressed; would deliver them from the Lord’s enemies.
That “Seed” is our Lord + Jesus, the Christ. This is our Lord God’s cause: to rescue us from our enemies. Well then, who are our enemies? Our enemies are the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh; our enemies are sin, death, and the power of the devil over us and this world. As we know from our daily breaking of the Law, we are unable to rescue ourselves from these enemies of the Lord God. These enemies of the Lord God have also become our enemies. They hate His creation just as much as they hate the Creator; they hate us just as much as they hate Him. Therefore, they continually are attacking us in order that they might destroy our faith in Him, and draw us further from Him, so that we are left without hope, and we despair. And if they cannot lead us into despair, they will lead us into pride. We will congratulate ourselves on our own keeping of the Law. “Have we not kept these things since youth?” we will say to ourselves. In our pride, we will think that righteousness has come from our own working and doing.
This attack of the Lord God’s enemies—of our enemies—is what the parable of the Good Samaritan is all about. A certain man went down from Jerusalem. That certain man is us—is all of mankind—who have gone down from Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the Church. When we sin, especially when we sin willfully, we have left the Church, even if only for a time. We have chosen our own pleasure and will over that of the will of the Lord God. It is when we take the Law into our own hands—when we make the Law mean what we want it to mean—we remove ourselves from the Lord God’s protection in the Church—in Jerusalem—and we fall among the thieves of faith and salvation. We fall among the enemies of the Lord God; we fall among our own enemies of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh, which rob us of our clothing of righteousness, wound us with our works or lack thereof, and leave us spiritually half dead.
This attack of our enemies—of the Lord God’s enemies—is a daily occurrence for us. We struggle with sin daily. If we do not struggle with committing sins, then we struggle with pride; we struggle with the temptation to pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves what righteous people we are. This is what our enemies want us doing. They want us to look at ourselves. They want us trusting in ourselves. They want us to have us looking at our works, or our lack thereof, and tell ourselves that we are either doing well, or not doing so well. This leaves us spiritually half dead, because we have taken our focus—our faith—off of the One Who can actually redeem us from our enemies. The One Who does not forget the voice of His enemies is the Triune Lord God.
The Father has sent to us His Only-Begotten Son to us. He has put on our flesh through the conception of the Holy Ghost, and the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He has become one of us, in order that He might deliver us from our enemies. The Good Samaritan is our Lord + Jesus. He was actually from Samaria. He was + Jesus of Nazareth, which was in the land of Samaria. Our Lord + Jesus is referring to Himself in the parable. He is the only One Who can help this certain man who went down from Jerusalem. He is the only One Who can help us when we are assailed by our enemies; when we are attacked with sin and temptation; when we are racked with pride and self-righteousness.
He is the One Who bandages our wounds with His own wounds. The wounds He endured through is Passion are the wounds that we deserve temporally and eternally. They are the punishments that we deserve, just as we confessed during the Confession and Absolution. He endures the punishments that we deserve so that we might not have to suffer them. He even sets us on His own animal—the animal of His perfect works on our behalf—so that He might carry us to the innkeeper. Through the oil and wine of the Word of God He heals our wounds and carries us into the Church. He creates faith and life in us, by the work of the Holy Ghost through the means of grace, in order that He might leave us in the care of the innkeeper, until He returns. We are in the care of the Church; we are in the care of the ministers of the Lord + Jesus.
The ministers care for us by the use of the two denarii of the Law and the Gospel. The Law is preached into our ears to remind us that we are poor, miserable sinners who are in need of the salvation found in the Lord + Jesus alone. The Gospel is preached into our ears to remind us that our Lord + Jesus has had respect toward His covenant. He has promised to come and be our Savior. He has promised to be born the “Seed” of Abraham; to be born the “Seed” of King David. He has promised to be born of the “Seed” of Adam and Eve, our first parents who first broke the command of the Lord God, and from whom we inherit our sin; the same sin to which we add our own sins every day.
Our Lord + Jesus, our Good Samaritan, has become our neighbor. He has shown to us mercy. He has loved us as He loved Himself. He is the only one who has truly been a neighbor to those who are His neighbor. Many people, like the certain lawyer who tested our Lord + Jesus, try to justify themselves when they consider their works to be better than they actually are. Whether they are aware of it or not, they are like all of us poor, miserable sinners who are daily attacked by the Lord God’s enemies—by our enemies. All of us are daily oppressed by our enemies. They attack us mercilessly from all sides. We cannot rescue ourselves from their attacks. They overpower us, and strip us of the robe of righteousness by leading us into sin, they wound us with pride and sin, and they leave us half dead in the ditch.
We will find little mercy from this world. Even the certain man, who was a Jew from Jerusalem, could not obtain any mercy from the priest, a member of Aaron’s family line, or a Levite, a member of the same tribe into which Moses was born. These two men knew the Law of God, and did not help this certain man; they did not show Him the mercy that they knew the Lord God required of the Law. We also will get no help or compassion from the Law, or those who preach and live by it. We receive mercy and compassion in this life from the Lord + Jesus. This is to Whom all preachers—all innkeepers—are to point when we ask from where comes our help. The ministers of the Lord God are to point all of us poor, miserable sinners to the One Who did not forget the voice of His enemies, Who plead His own cause, Who did not let the oppressed return ashamed, and Who had respect to His covenant with mankind.
Our Lord + Jesus, the Christ, the Seed of Abraham, came to fulfill the Law which we were unable to fulfill, and He came to suffer our punishment on the tree of the holy cross. By His wounds, He has bandaged our wounds, and He has placed us on His own animal to carry us to the innkeeper. He has fulfilled the promise which He made with Adam and Eve, with Abraham, and with King David. We have this promise of salvation through faith in the Lord + Jesus and His works and merits. All these gifts and promises are ours because He has given us this faith through the working of the Holy Ghost through the means of grace. The Lord God is our salvation, because we have cried out day and night in our nakedness and wounds, and He has heard our cry, and sent to us His Only-Begotten Son, our Lord + Jesus, the Christ, in order to bring us into our eternal home in Heaven. There we will no longer be attacked by our enemies, but we will live in eternal peace with all the other saints who have gone before us.
Therefore, my dear friends, let us remember the mercies of our Lord + Jesus. Let us give Him thanks for rescuing us from sin, death and the power of the devil. And let us remember to show mercy and compassion for all our Lord God’s creation; for all of our neighbors and fellowmen. For they struggle with the attacks of the enemies just like we do every day. Our neighbors deserve our mercy, just as much as we deserve this mercy and compassion ourselves. We show this mercy and compassion whenever we, like the Good Samaritan, our Lord + Jesus Christ, bring our neighbors into this inn of the Church in order that they too may be cared for by the innkeeper, who will preach into their ears the Law and the Gospel, so that they too may be received again by the Good Samaritan when He comes again to take us from this vale of tears to our eternal home in Heaven. In the Name of our Lord + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit after Sermon:
Almighty God, be pleased to accompany Thy Word with Thy Holy Spirit and grant that Thy Word would increase faith in us; bring into the Way of Truth all such as have erred; turn the hearts of the unrepentant; and for sake of Thy Name grant succor to all heavy hearts and those who are heavy-laden, that they may through the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ be relieved and preserved so that they succumb not to the temptation of despair but rather that they gain the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with the Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!