Christ the King Sunday A


Ephesians 1:15-23

Verse 15 and following is cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 11: Election (SD 11.12) as one of the proper uses of the teaching on election--to encourage godliness. This shapes how we think, preach, and teach about election while also giving us a plumb line for assessing such preaching and teaching. (I'm looking at you, the Left Behind series!)

 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints...
-- Ephesians 1:17-18

Verses 17 and 18 are cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.15) as an example of Paul's prayers for God's aid in understanding God's Word.

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.
-- Ephesians 1:20-21

Verses 20 and 21 are twice cited through editorial insert in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ. The first citation (SD 8.12) is point seven of the agreements on the person of Christ. The seventh point affirms Jesus' full humanity, which is elevated through the personal union of the human and divine in Jesus. These verses are cited as a way to show this idea is present in the Bible. The second citation (SD 8.51) expounds on this same thought. I would commend a quick reading of SD 8.49-52 for a quick refresher on the two natures of Christ and what that means for human nature.

And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
-- Ephesians 1:22-23

Verses 22 and 23 are quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Articles 7 and 8: The Church (AP 7/8.5) to lift up one of the ways in which the Church is not simply another volunteer organization. We are called and governed by the Spirit as the body of Christ.

Verse 22 by itself is cited in a footnote to Smalcald Articles, Part 2, Article 4 (SA 2.4.1, n. 52) along with a few other verses to show that Jesus is the head of the Church, not the pope.

Verse 22 is also cited in Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 8: Person of Christ (SD 8.55) along with many other New Testament passages to show that Jesus' divine authority and power are imparted to his human nature because of the unique union of divine and human in Jesus.

Matthew 25:31-46

...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...
-- Matthew 25:35

Verse 35 is partly quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 4: Justification (AP 4.370ish) as an argument that works earn salvation. Melanchthon reframes this verse to say that faith will naturally produce these good works rather than reading this passage as establishing a legal contract for salvation based on works.

Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels...
-- Matthew 25:41

Verse 41 is cited in a footnote to The Large Catechism, Part 3: The Lord's Prayer, The Third Petition (LC 3.65) in case people wonder why Luther wrote about the devil having angels. The reason is because Jesus talked about the devil having angels. This part of The Large Catechism reminds us that Christians will be opposed by the devil and those who have been seduced by the devil. The statement is quite strong:

Therefore we who would be Christians must surely expect to have the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies and must expect that they will inflict every possible misfortune and grief upon us.
-- The Large Catechism, Part 3, Line 65
...for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
-- Matthew 25:42-43

Verses 42 and 43 are quoted in The Large Catechism, Part 1: The Ten Commandments, The Fifth Commandment (LC 1.191, citation in n. 97) to show how Luther expands the direct implications of this commandment beyond killing someone with your own hands. Apathy and ignoring the plight of others may also lead us into killing through inaction


There is something unique about being the Church and it starts with the unique way in which divinity and humanity are connected in Jesus. Our good works spring forth from faith just as God's will was accomplished in Jesus' presence during his earthly ministry--spontaneously. Our only hope is in the one being who takes all of human nature into himself as he is exalted by God, making our nature part of who God is. The Spirit, who calls, gathers, enlightens, makes holy, and keeps the Church does so in Jesus as the Spirit of Jesus, imparting to us Jesus' righteousness and faith--the faith that yields good fruit.

  • Reflect on the hymn Oh Christ, What Can it Mean for Us.