Gospel: Matthew 21:23-27 (28-32)
Epistle: Philippians 2:1-18
Lesson: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Psalm: Psalm 25:1-10
CLB Commentary – Rev. Dale Hanson
In the Gospel text from Matthew 21:23-32, Jesus is being confronted by the religious leaders of his day on the issue of authority which was one of their chief concerns. He handles them as an expert answering their question with another question. He pins them. If you want to know by what authority I am doing these things first you tell me by what authority did John baptize; from heaven or from man. But they didn’t dare answer; so he doesn’t answer them either. His way of handling them gives abundant evidence of a wisdom that proves his divine authority. Yet, they wouldn’t give up and only continued to challenge his authority and stand in judgment of him. Is it possible that we do the same from time to time?
This exchange is followed by one of the great little stories about who is really an obedient child of God. Who are you like? Notice that it was the son whose first response was no that actually in the end obeyed. With that story Jesus points out that it is often the so-called notorious sinners who believe and follow him more often than the pious religious ones. Here he delivered a powerful rebuke to those who questioned him.
The Epistle Lesson from Philippians 2:1-18 continues the thoughts from the story in our Gospel text. He makes an important point about Christian living. Who can improve on these words? Will we hear them and allow them to impact our daily life and work? Having the mind of Christ among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus! Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Stop and contemplate these words – indeed we would shine as lights in this world if we lived this out.
The Old Testament Lesson from Ezekiel 18:1-4 and 25-32 gives a powerful warning about sin – the soul who sins shall die. The entire chapter speaks powerfully about how we are to conduct ourselves and ends with a call to repent and turn to God. God declares that he has no pleasure in the death of anyone so turn and live.
These scripture lessons warn about sin and calls us to repentance and faith. It is also a clear statement of how we are to conduct ourselves in this world.
Proclaim clearly both the law and gospel; may your people hear and respond and be changed by God’s word.
Reference used: The Lutheran Study Bible