We Are Humbled and Exalted by the Cross of Christ
“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,” Jesus proclaims, but “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Your hope is in the name of the Lord, who humbled Himself unto death on the cross and was exalted in His resurrection. So are you humbled by His cross, and “at the resurrection of the righteous,” He will say to you, “Friend, move up higher” (Luke 14:10; 13–14). By His grace, the King will honor you “in the place of great men,” where your eyes will gaze upon the Prince, His dearly-beloved Son (Prov. 25:7). As He has dealt so graciously with you, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing” (Heb. 13:16), and “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Heb. 13:2). Humble yourself and exalt your neighbor.
Collect for Proper 17: O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by Your holy Spirit to follow the example of Your Son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds avoid ungodly pride; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Collect for the Feast of St Bartholomew (24 August): Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
For the mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for humility: O God, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Monday, 22 August 2016—Psalm 75:1–2, 6, 9; antiphon, Psalm 75:7—The readings for Sunday speak of being humble, and the Introit sets the tone by reminding us that we are not to judge people according to worldly standards; rather, It is God who executes judgement, putting down one and lifting up another.
Tuesday, 23 August 2016—Psalm 131—This psalm of David is the psalm of a humble man, one whose heart is not lifted up by himself and one whose eyes are not raised too high. Instead of relying on himself, David has calmed and quieted his soul with the knowledge of the LORD and that all our hope is in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
Wednesday, 24 August 2016—Proverbs 25:2–10—About 250 years after the death of Solomon, blessed by God as the wisest man ever to have lived, King Hezekiah’s men collected some of Solomon’s wise sayings from a larger collection. The first section used for Sunday’s Old Testament reading (vv. 2–7) relate to earthly kings. Whereas part of God’s glory is due to the fact that He is beyond our understanding, it is the glory of earthly kings to search out and discover. When he became king, Solomon humbly asked God for “an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). To search out justice and enlightenment is to a ruler’s glory.
The second portion of the reading (vv. 8–10) teaches us humility in relations with our neighbor. We are not to be hasty in pursuing litigation to elevate ourselves over our neighbor; he may thereby put us to shame. Neither should we engage in gossip, warns v. 9. Similar warnings are also given in Proverbs 11:13, 20:19, and, of course, the Eighth Commandment.
Thursday, 25 August 2016—Hebrews 13:1–17—How does a person’s humility manifest itself with regard to those around us? The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to care for the needy: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . . remember those who are in prison . . . and those who are mistreated.
We ought always to bring to mind Christ’s example, who suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Furthermore, we ought to recall those heroes of the faith whom we heard about in the epistle readings a few weeks ago and imitate their faith. In the Church, we are to humble ourselves and obey our leaders and submit to them, for God has appointed them to keep watch over your souls.
Friday, 26 August 2016—Luke 14:1–14—Sunday’s Gospel speaks of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath, but first challenging the puffed-up Pharisees to show Him why this would be wrong. They could give no answer. Jesus then tells a parable which exhorts those puffed-up Pharisees—and us!-–to humble ourselves. One who has the mind of Christ will not seek to exalt himself over others, but will put himself in their service, as Christ did for us when he bore our sins to Calvary. When we bow in humble submission to the Lord, He shall exalt us. Indeed, He has already, by making us His children through the washing of Holy Baptism and giving us a seat at His heavenly banquet.
Saturday, 27 August 2016—The first stanza of the Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Son of God, Eternal Savior (LSB #842), proclaims the salvation that Christ has won for us. It then beseeches the Lord to reign among us that here on earth, His will be done. Our example is Christ, who lived for others, our plea, then, is So may we for others live. The hymn beautifully proclaims in song the theme for the day: that we are humbled and exalted by the cross of Christ, and our lives reflect His humility.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
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