Observing the Sabbath does not Trump the Rest of the Law

Pentecost 15 Thursday

Luke 14:3

And Jesus answered and said to the scribes and Pharisees: It is right to heal on the Sabbath?

When I preach once the congregation has gathered, then this is not my own speaking or doing, but happens on behalf of all of you and on behalf of the entire church, except that there must be one man who speaks and who teaches the Word based on the order and consent of all the others who, by listening to the sermon, all acknowledge the Word and, in this way, also teach others. In the same way, when an infant is baptized, the baptizing is done not only by the pastor but also by the godparents as witnesses and even the entire church. For baptism, like the Word and Christ himself, is a common
possession of all Christians. In the same way, they all pray, sing, and give thanks together. And there is here nothing that one Christian has or does for himself, but whatever one has, all the others have as well. Look, in this way the Sabbath is properly sanctified and God is properly served for our salvation. And in this way, also our neighbor is served by the teaching and the praying, which is the highest service and benefit by which he is helped eternally. Next, when you descend to the Second Table of the Ten Commandments which is specifically about our neighbor, you should help him in his physical needs wherever you see that he needs your help. For God commanded this as well, and his commandment is to be kept not only outside the Sabbath, but at all times. Yet it should be kept in a way that nonetheless the church’s ministry of God’s Word and prayer is not abandoned. For in the commandment, You shall sanctify the holy day, we are not forbidden or hindered from the works of love and of the other commandments, but only those works that hinder the preaching office of God’s Word and prayer. Thus, in this commandment regarding the Sabbath is comprehended the entire law: The other commandments should not therefore be abrogated and dead, e.g., when I see my neighbor in need and danger of life and limb, that I do not pass him by like the priest and Levite and leave him as dead, Luke 10:31; this would make me, while alleging to observe the Sabbath, a murderer of my brother. Rather, I should serve and help him like the Samaritan who bandaged the wounded man, set him on his own animal, and brought him to the inn. We also see that our Lord Christ did likewise, teaching us by his example to do likewise.

St. Louis ed., 12:1972-1973.

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