Lectionary 28 A

Settle in for more predestination citations, but first some footnotes! The treasure of this week's citations is the unpacking of Matthew 22:14 in the Solid Declaration.

Isaiah 25:1-9

...he will swallow up death forever.
-- Isaiah 25:8a

The first line of verse 8 is footnoted twice in The Large Catechism, both making the same reference to death being swallowed up. The first citation is near the end of The Second Part: The Creed, The Second Article (LC 2.31, n. 134) noting that Jesus is the one who does this. The second citation is in The Fourth Part: Concerning Baptism (LC 4.43, n. 207) to show that our death is also swallowed up by Jesus in our baptism into Jesus' death.

Semicontinuous First Reading - Exodus 32:1-14

Chapter 32 is cited in a quote in a footnote in The Small Catechism, Part 1: The Ten Commandments, The First Commandment (SC 1.1, n. 25) indicating the woodcut found in this post.

Semicontinuous Psalm - Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23

Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
-- Psalm 106:1

Verse 1 is cited in a footnote to The Small Catechism, Morning and Evening Blessings: Thanksgiving (SC 6.10, n. 109) along with several other citations in Psalms that Luther assembled to create the prayer for thanksgiving after meals. Note that what's in the Catechism is Luther's translation and might not agree with other translations.

Philippians 4:1-9

...whose names are in the book of life.
-- Philippians 4:3f

Verse 3, or at least the very end of it, is cited four times in Formula of Concord, Epitome and Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election, each time as a reference to the Book of Life and mentioned with Revelation 3:5 and/or 20:15, where the phrase "book of life" can be found. The first citation is Affirmative Thesis 6 (Ep 11.7), where the book of life is clearly and directly identified as Jesus. Two of the Solid Declaration citations (SD 11.13, and 11.70) make the same connection as the Epitome. The third citation in the Solid Declaration (SD 11.25) is used to frame the question of what kinds of signs are evident in the lives of the elect, to which the answer given is "those who hear the gospel, believe in Christ, pray, give thanks, are sanctified in love, have hope, patience, and comfort in their crosses (Rom. 8[:25]). Even if these things are all very weak in them, they still have a hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5[:6])" (SD 11.30). This is the evidence that you name is written in Jesus.

Matthew 22:1-14

Verses 1 thru 6 are cited through editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.41) along with Luke 14:18-20 to show that "Most have contempt for the Word and no do what to come to the wedding." Such contempt comes from the sinful human will that distorts the means through which the gospel is proclaimed and works against the efforts of the Spirit.

Verses 2 thru 14 are cited twice in the same article. First, their cited (SD 11.14) to show that teaching about predestination should be done as a whole. "This means that the entire teaching of God's intention, counsel, will, and preordination concerning our redemption, calling, justification, and salvation must be taken as a unity." The second citation, which happens shortly (SD 11.27), shifts the emphasis to the servants as a way of showing that God works through means. In the case of this parable and the proclamation of the gospel, the means are people who go out and proclaim and invite.

"For many are called, but few are chosen."
-- Matthew 22:14

The rest of the citations from Matthew 22:1-14 all come in the context of unpacking Matthew 22:14 in Formula of Concord.

First, verse 14 is quoted in Epitome, Article 11: Election, Affirmative Thesis 11 (Ep 11.12), to sate in short order that those who are not elect place themselves there as they work against the Holy Spirit.

Then, verse 14 is quoted in Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.34) to start the unpacking of this line by specifically stating that God is not being contradictory, calling everyone but only selecting some. This is supported a bit later (SD 11.39) with verses 5 and 6 that point out those who were invited to the wedding but chose to "push it away, slander it, or persecute it" have taken themselves out of God's election. It was not God's desire or intention, just as it was not the king's intention to have his servants ignored, or bound, beaten, and killed. Verse 12 is cited (SD 11.39) as a way of noting that even those who present themselves as Christians but for whom it is "only an external appearance" fall into this same group of those who have excluded themselves. Verse 14 comes up again at the conclusion to this unpacking. I think it's worthwhile to have the entire conclusion for you reflection, so here it is:

On the contrary, as God preordained in his counsel that the Holy Spirit would call, enlighten, and convert the elect through the Word and that he would justify and save all those who accept Christ through true faith, so also he concluded in his counsel that he would harden, reject, and condemn all those whom he called through the Word when they spurn the Word and resist and persist in resisting the Holy Spirit, who wants to exercise his power in them and be efficacious through the Word. This is why "many are called and few are chosen".
-- Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election, Line 40

Verse 14 is quoted on last time (SD 11.51) as one of the scriptural "admonitions and warnings" in the Lutheran doctrine of election.

TheoThru

If you have the time and inclination, the entire unpacking of Matthew 22:14 is worth the read and not too long (SD 11.34-40). But my imagination is caught on what it means to have my name written in the book of life, who is Jesus. Dwelling in this thought brings me into a place of fear and love for what God has done, is doing, and will do. What good news we have to share! Your name is written in Jesus. That's how much God loves you!

  • What do we make of this good news?
  • When are we intentional about being the means through which this good news is proclaimed?