Monday after Trinity 20 (St. Luke)

1We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your | name is near.*
         We recount your | wondrous deeds.

2“At the set time that | I appoint*
         I will judge with | equity.

3When the earth totters, and all itsin- | habitants,*
         it is I who keep steady its | pillars.

4I say to the boastful, | ‘Do not boast,’*
         and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift | up your horn;

5do not lift up your | horn on high,*
         or speak with | haughty neck.’”

6For not from the east or | from the west*
         and not from the wilderness comes | lifting up,

7but it is God who executes | judgment,*
         putting down one and lifting up an- | other.

8For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and hepours | out from it,*
         and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down | to the dregs.

9But I will declare it for- | ever;*
         I will sing praises to the God of | Jacob.

10All the horns of the wicked I will | cut off,*
         but the horns of the righteous shall be | lifted up.
               —Psalm 75

Additional Psalm: Psalm 77

Old Testament Reading:
Deuteronomy 17:1–20
[Forbidden Forms of Worship]
1“You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the LORD your God.

2“If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. 6On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges
8“If any case arises requiring decision between one kind of homicide and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any case within your towns that is too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place that the LORD your God will choose. 9And you shall come to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall consult them, and they shall declare to you the decision. 10Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place that the LORD will choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you. 11According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left. 12The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again.

Laws Concerning Israel’s Kings
14“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

18“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 14:1–21
The Death of John the Baptist
1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, 2and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 6But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, 7so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13Now when Jesus heard this, he with-drew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Theologians are rightly familiar with distinguishing between a Sacrament and a sacrifice. Therefore, let them be subdivided into either a ceremony or a sacred work. A Sacrament is a ceremony or work in which God presents to us what the promise of the ceremony offers. Baptism is not a work that we offer to God. It is a work in which God baptizes us. In other words, a minister baptizes us on God’s behalf. God here offers and presents the forgiveness of sins, and so forth, according to the promise “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). A sacrifice, on the contrary, is a ceremony or work that we give to God in order to provide Him honor.

Furthermore, there are two kinds of sacrifice and no more. One is the atoning sacrifice, that is, a work that makes satisfac-tion for guilt and punishment. It reconciles God, or reconciles His wrath and merits the forgiveness of sins for others. The other kind is the eucharistic sacrifice, which does not merit the forgiveness of sins or reconciliation. It is practiced by those who have been reconciled, so that we may give thanks or return gratitude for the forgiveness of sins that has been received, or for other benefits received.
               —Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIV (XII) 17–19

For that belov’d physician
         All praise, whose Gospel shows
The Healer of the nations,
         The one who shares our woes.
Your wine and oil, O Savior,
         Upon our spirits pour,
And with true balm of Gilead
         Anoint us evermore.
               —By All Your Saints in Warfare
(LSB 518:26)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (F30)

St. Luke, Evangelist
St. Luke, the beloved physician referred to by St. Paul (Colossians 4:14), presents us with Jesus, whose blood provides the medicine of immortality. As his traveling companion, Paul claimed Luke’s Gospel as his own for its healing of souls (Eusebius). Luke traveled with Paul during the second missionary journey, joining him after Paul received his Macedonian call to bring the Gospel to Europe (Acts 16:10–17). Luke most likely stayed behind in Philippi for seven years, rejoining Paul at the end of the third missionary journey in Macedonia. He traveled with Paul to Troas, Jerusalem, and Caesarea, where Paul was imprisoned for two years (Acts 20:5–21:18). While in Caesarea, Luke may have researched material that he used in his Gospel. Afterward, Luke accompanied Paul on his journey to Rome (Acts 27:1–28:16). Especially beloved in Luke’s Gospel are the stories of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37), the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32), the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31), and the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9–14). Only Luke provides a detailed account of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:1–20) and the canticles of Mary (Luke 1:46–55), of Zechariah (Luke 1:68–79), and of Simeon (Luke 2:29–32). To show how Christ continued His work in the Early Church through the apostles, Luke also penned the Acts of the Apostles. More than one-third of the New Testament comes from the hand of the evangelist Luke.

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXI (IX) 38–44

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.