DAILY DEVOTIONS FOR DECEMBER
Friday, December 1, 2000
Behold , thy King cometh unto thee. Matthew 21:5
"He comes," without doubt, you do not come to him and catch him. He is too high and far from you. You will not reach him by your might, striving and work. You cannot brag as though you had brought him to yourself through your service and worthiness. No, here lay aside all service and worthiness. For in your possession is nothing that deserves His coming, but only unworthiness. What is His is pure grace and mercy. The poor and rich come here together.
The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all. Proverbs 22:2
Guard yourself against the poison that we should from the power of the free will seek God and come to Him and run after Him and earn His grace. Guard yourself against such poison. It is only the doctrine of the devil. By this he can be spotted in all the world. Before you could call upon God or seek Him, God must already have come and found you as Paul says in Romans 10: 14-15
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
God must lay the first stone and begin in you so that you seek and pray to him. He is already there through your baptism but if he is not there, then you do not begin anything but pure sin.
May Your promises and salvation ever be my faith and comfort, O Jesus. Amen.
Saturday, December 2, 2000
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: John 3:14
How then do you begin to become good? Or, what must you do that God begins to do it in you? Answer: Didn't you hear that in you is no deed or starting point to become good? So you have just as little ability to grow or complete it. God alone is the beginning, advancement and end. All that you and I begin is sinful and remains sinful, as beautifully as it is done in hypocrisy. You and I are capable of nothing but sins do what we will. For if you and me out of free will, were able not to sin, or do what is not sinful, what necessity would you and I have of Christ? He would have been a fool to shed His blood for the sake of our sins.
Learn at this session from the gospel what happens when God begins to make us good. Learn what is the beginning of being made good. There is no other beginning but that your king comes to you and begins in you. It happens this way. The gospel must be the very first thing. That must be preached and heard. In this gospel you hear and learn your situation. What you do and begin is nothing but sin before God unless your King is before you first and reigns.
Praise to You, Lord, from whom salvation flows. Amen
Sunday, December 3, 2000 First Week of Advent
That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:15
Remember Matthew 21:5 Behold, Thy King cometh unto thee.
Your King. He distinguishes Himself from all other kings. He is your King; He says I am the promised King. I am the one, your own, who will reign for you.
This is such a comforting word to a believing heart. For outside of Christ a person is trampled by many raging tyrants who are not kings, but rather fine murders under which he suffers great necessity and trouble. There is the devil, the flesh, the world, sins and also the law and death with hell. By all these a person's miserable conscience is smothered. He has a difficult prison, and leads a sour anxious life. For where there are sins, there is no good conscience, there is only an unsure manner and unrelenting fear of death or hell, over which no joy or pleasure of the heart can conquer.
But when the heart received this King with a strong faith, he is safe, fears neither sins, death nor hell, nor any misfortune. For he knows already and doesn't doubt that this King is a Lord over life and death, over sins and grace, over hell and heaven all things are in His hands.
As you regard Him that's how you have Him. In the way that you expect Him to be, that's what you will find about Him and as you believe, so it will be to you. Yet He remains that He is, indestructible, a King of life, grace and salvation, whether or not that is believed.
Praise to You, Lord, helps us to behold and believe. Amen
Monday, December 4, 2000
And sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. Matthew 21:5
Your King comes to you humbly. It is wonderful to mark this passage that comforts our sinful conscience in such a loving way. For our sins naturally result in a fearful, fugitive conscience, as Adam fled in paradise and could not stand God's coming.
Therefore a sinful conscience flees and is frightened when it only hears God call. It troubles it that He would quickly beat those sins with a club. So now He does not hunt us with such thoughts and cringing. In a comforting way He promises that this King comes humbly.
It's as if he would say: Don't run away and do not cringe, He is not coming now as He did to Adam, Cain, to Babylon, to Sodom and Gomorrah; also not as He came to the nation of Israel on the Mountain of Sinai. He does not come in wrath. He will not judge you or promote guilt. All wraths are laid aside. Pure humility and goodness is there. He will immediately deal with you so that your heart's desire, love and all confidence shall him Him; that you, from now on, will regard Him as much greater and seek refuge in Him more than you did when you previously had been terrified and run away.
Erl 10, 11-13: Sermon for Advent I on Matthew 21:1-9
Humbly I praise and glorify You, O Lord for being my friend and Savior. Amen
Tuesday, December 5, 2000
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Psalm 45:2
The prophet describes the King according to His person and says: I will write about the kind of King and who is the most beautiful among the children of man. So this is the first beauty that this king has. Christ was born true God and man, pure, without any fault and impurity of original sin and without God's wrath, unlike we people. No person is without sins, but we all are born without righteousness and wisdom. We also live and die in that condition if Christ does not come to help.
Thus, we understand this beauty, first in a spiritual way concerning the self evident manner and nature of our King, Christ. He is without any sins, pure, conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary. Because He was without any stain of sin, He was full of grace and truth- John 1. Both flesh and spirit were completely holy throughout, so that even one hair or a drop from Christ is more beautiful and purer than the whole sun.
But we speak here, as said above, not about the natural beauty of Christ but rather of the spiritual.
So this is the first honor and loveliness of this psalm. The psalmist wants to sing of that kind of kingdom in which a king shall rule and reign that will be pure and beautiful throughout, in whom is no fault or anything impure. But He shall be all comfort, the highest wisdom, and the greatest love to all poor troubled sinners. This King is full of mercy, grace and truth, friendly, affable, overall lovely and sweet. As Isaiah says, he does not call out on the way, but rather is patient and long-suffering. Yet He finally punishes the godless and the evil, but shows mercy to the sinner who repeats.
Alib VI 377 Commentary on Psalm 45-Luther 1534
Kings shall bow down before Him and gold and incense bring. All nations shall adore Him. His praise all peoples sing. To Him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend. His kingdom still increasing. A kingdom without end. Amen
Wednesday, December 6, 2000
Psalm 45:2 In the German this verse says, Lovely are your lips. The prophet had described the Lord as outstanding and beautiful. He now also speaks of His wisdom. He praises it as highly as His appearance, and says it is placed in Him so that He has a sweet mouth and lips.
But it is apparent as it was to Luther and to Luke when he had these words: And all bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, "Is not this Joseph's son? Luke 4:22
Luther said the Holy Ghost, again here secretly considers Moses, who also had lips. But they were hard, uncompromising and wrathful lips in which was no loveliness, but pure wrath, terror, sins and death. Now bundle together in a heap all wisdom, both of Moses and all the heathen and philosophers. You will find that before God they are idolatry or falsely fashioned wisdom. Even wisdom by which land and people are ruled is only a wisdom of wrath and punishment.
Because of the beauty of this King, Christ alone has the true and right beauty, compared to which all other royal appearance is black and hateful. So also His wisdom alone is the true and right wisdom. For it is a sweet comforting wisdom, that is, a wisdom of divine promise. His WORD is loving and full of every comfort and confidence in the grace of God.
Lord give us the right beauty and right wisdom that comes only from thee. Amen
Thursday, December 7, 2000
And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. : John 1:16
Isaiah says of Jesus in chapter 42: He will not cry out or shout, and you will not hear His voice on the highway. The bruised reed shall He not break and the smoking flax shall He not quench."
Luther says that He is not an unfriendly, harsh and angry man, like Moses, who looks horrible like the devil and says that He would like to take someone's heart away. Then His lips would spill over with gall and wrath and would be bitter through and through with choking and dragon's poison and, yes, also with hell fire. Therefore, always go back to Moses for the stubborn and wicked people and proud saints, whom He should frighten and humble. But our King has gentle saving lips. That means that His WORD is a Word of forgiveness of sins that also comforts the poor struck conscience, a Word of life and salvation which enlivens and restores those buried by the weight of their sins and that feel death and damnation.
A ltb VI 379-380: Commentary on Psalm 45, 1534
May Your promises and salvation ever be my faith and comfort, O Jesus. Amen
Friday, December 8, 2000
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies: whereby the people fall under thee. Psalm 45:5
A praiseworthy King and chief is also successful. That is why this psalm gives Christ the praise that He is successful and says: It is a difficult war. Our King goes forth with His chariot. We follow Him in our chariot, for He speaks according to the way kings were. Or we ride next to Him where there are also many great victories. So even if our enemies are very numerous and mighty, yet we hold the field. In such a battle, one servant of God can battle ten thousand.
The enemies persecute the Word. They despise what is ours and are ever becoming weary of us so our pastors must win no better reward for their work or their true and bitter service than unthankful ness, envy and hatred at times. So where is that success and happiness that He speaks of in His word. Without doubt, it is nowhere but in the Spirit.
Therefore, be comforted and undaunted. Let no misfortunes drive any of us back but rather go to them lively and joyfully in plain sight and hold fast. Also, do not let all the despising and unthankful ness of our own nor the murderous attack of the humanist move you to walk away. Take comfort as St. Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
So as Luther says, " .let us rightly understand this verse by the unseeable, ungraspable happiness, growth and increase; for our King prospers and suffices even if we do not see it. It also would not be good that we see such increase, for we would become proud by it."
Lord we fall before you in awe and praise you as our King. Amen
Saturday, December 9, 2000
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15
God does not say this for the sake of the devil. God doesn't consider him worth the effort of proclaiming his damnation. On the contrary, it would be enough that God damned him in his own will. But this is said for the sake of Adam and Eve. They hear Satan's judgment and are comforted, because they see that God is his enemy by nature and against him because he had inflicted on mankind such trouble and harm. So they view God's grace and mercy even here commencing in the midst of God's wrath awakened by sin and disobedience. Under the supreme threats of the Father, his heart breaks open. He is not so angry that he would cast away his son for the sake of sins, but he would reveal help. He foretells of victory against the enemy who had deceived and conquered human nature.
In these words is also THE comfort. Before them, the ominous clouds were darkened. Then the bright sun lifted itself above the clouds. With loving splendor, God lights up their frightened hearts. Adam and Eve would not hear the kind of judgment against them as made against the snake. Rather, they would stand against the damned foe as on a mountain top in time of war. They would stand in the hope that help would come, the son of God, the Seed of the woman. So the forgiveness of sins is shown here to Adam and Eve. They were taken completely in grace as they were declared free from sin and death, from hell and this terror and fear, which had strangled them right to death before the face of God. Then this comfort comes.
A lth.IX 90-91. Commentary on Genesis by Luther 1535
God in the same WORD you gave to Adam and Eve might we find comfort also. Amen
Sunday, December 10, 2000 second Week in Advent
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21: 28
Who could lift up his head here in such horrid wrath and judgment? All the world will be terrified on that day and duck their heads way down and stare at the ground with fear and terror. So how will we look up and hold up our head, which certainly means that we would have joy and anticipation?
This can only be said of the Christian who is truly a Christian and not of the heathen. But true Christian remain under such great tribulation and persecution by sins and all kinds of evil that this life becomes sour and hateful to them. For that reason they wait and have longings. They pray to be free of sins and every evil. The Lord's Prayer also rings out "Thy kingdom come." "And deliver us from evil."
If we are true Christians, we pray these same things ardently, from the bottom of our hearts. If we do not pray this from the depths of our hearts and earnestly, then we are not yet true Christians
Erl 10.66-68 Luther- on Luke 21: 25-36
Lord Jesus, Thy kingdom come and deliver us from evil. Amen
Monday, December 11, 2000
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. : John 17:24
We and all who cling to Christ may be sure and secure in our final hope, where we find peace and where we will remain while we suffer here in the world. Here we are excluded and have no enduring country. We have heard that whoever is a Christian must forgo all the world's favor, grace, safety, power and rest and be the devil's footstool. The Christian must constantly be in danger of body and life and await death every hour.
What Christ means by these Words, "whom you have given me," is often stated. Namely, these Words give us worth and are given for our great comfort. Those who cling to and retain his Words will not doubt that Christ will take us to himself in His glory, even if we are yet sinners, weak and broken. This is especially so in need and affliction when the world, for the sake of these Words , lords over and persecutes us and takes our goods, honor, body and life. Then we boldly cling to such promises. These Words are spoken to us as we live upon earth with flesh and blood, not to the angels in heaven or the saints who have died.
A ltb.VI 256:Lecture of Luther on John chapter 17, 1534
God, teach us to cling to Christ our only hope of salvation. Amen
Tuesday, December 12, 2000
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. John 17:25
With this text Jesus turns his eyes to the world and speaks from the desires of his heart. Father, how is it that you do not allow the world to speak and preach so that they also would acknowledge your name? Wju does he start to praise his Father here,a t the end of the prayer, by calling him "Righteous Father" instead of the better, more merciful title "Holy Father:.
As said above, he has yearned in his heart in this hour. He looked back on the world that unfortunately would not hear or suffer the Word. The more one preaches the more thoughtless they become. As unwise children they run from it barefoot, yes, they even crawl barefoot from it to the ends of the world. They are born as a great emptiness. Yes, they are born by God as one bears a bad habit. By this they earn pure wrath and eternal punishment.
Yet this should not be accepted as a reason to give thanks, in blasphemy and profanation. So Jesus says, You are truly a great God who does what is good and right because you differentiate between those who are from the world and those you have given me, that is, between those whom you have shut out and these whom you brought to me so that they stay where I am. You let the others go where they belong as those who refuse to be informed or helped.
So now we must also be against the world. For the sake of that world we hear the gospel publicly and generously. By doing that we have done all that we can. We have not stopped doing anything that might help them be converted by preaching, exhortation, loving, serving, bearing, warning, frightening, drawing and after that in all things we suffer, forgive and pray for them. In short, in every way we have tried, by our stringent courage and work, cost and danger, and fighting for no higher wages than unthankfulness, scorn, blasphemy, and persecution by the public for the revealed truth.
Lord may we be identified with Thee through the Word. We thank Thee for its preaching, exhortation and drawing power. Amen
Wednesday, December 13, 2000
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: John 1:12
Hear what a great and mighty wonder and what an unspeakable eternal treasure is bestowed through the coming of God's Son on those who receive Him, believe on Him and regard Him as the man sent by God to help the world. Namely, this will be the new work and method by which He will give the power and right to become children of God unto all who believe on His name. When we believe that He is the eternal Word of the Father by whom all things are made, as the life and light of mankind and the Lamb of God who bears the sins of the world, takes them away and drowns them in the depth of the seas; and who is also called upon in every kind of need and in thanks for His unspeakable graced and mercy, we are by this brought to the great glory. He makes known to us His excellent justice and gives us the glorious power and freedom of having a gracious Father in heaven. Yes, we are His dear children and heirs of His eternal heavenly goods. As Paul says in Romans 8:
" that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."
Lord, we thank Thee that through our baptism and the Word the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of Thine. Amen
Thursday, December 14, 2000
If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:17
This is the will of the Father, that you value and hear what this man, Christ, says and heed His Word. You will not be clever enough to master or dispute about his Word, but hear it directly, so the Holy Ghost, will enter and enrich your heart that you believe from your heart the preaching of the divine Word and say: That is God's Word and the whole truth. That is also the Word by which your life is preserved. But if you want people to listen to you and by your reason you would strike out Christ from His Word, and if you would use it to master other people and after that purpose investigate how it is to be understood in order to mince and mix it so the Words must sound as you desire them to sound, if you bring it to your mind primarily because you doubt it and want to come up with reasons for it out of your head, then that is not in keeping with being a student, but with being a master. In this manner you will nevermore come to it and experience what the Lord's Word is or who His heavenly Father is.
On the other hand, whoever wants to do his own will by his own opinions and his experience, preaching and hearing only what he himself recommends and desires, has closed and barricaded heaven and that one will nevermore taste or smell a little ibt or a dot of what a passage or Word of Scripture is.
Altb V 716-717Sermon of Luther 1532.
Precious Jesus, I beseech Thee, May Thy Words take root in me. Amen
Friday, December 15, 2000
Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. John 6: 68-69
Where should I go? I can look around and say, " I find no other teaching that gives life. But we have experienced that You, Christ have the Word of life. You are truth. As we study your Word we arrive at the fact that you Jesus are this Word, this Word of life. You alone with your every doctrine are purely exalted above the earth.
But the Christian church acts as does St. Peter speaking here in this passage: Where shall we go? What shall we hear? I know nothing but you, Lord! I know of no preaching, but "You have theWords of eternal life." This preaching that is pure and untainted has marrow and bone and helps against eternal death, sins and all misery. Of all the crowd, St. Peter preaches here that he is the first to mark and reject all doctrine that is not Christ's Word.
God, might we reject like St. Peter all doctrine that is not Christ's Word. Amen
Saturday, December 16, 2000
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans13: 12
Our salvation is near. By the day of the gospel, Paul means the day when the heart or soul is enlightened. So since the day is breaking, our salvation is near us. That is, Christ and His grace, promised to Abraham, is now going forth, is preached in all the world, enlightens all mankind, awakens us all from sleep and shows us true eternal kindness. With this day we will have to get up and behave worthily in the day. On the other hand, you must understand that all doctrine, which is not the gospel, belongs to the night. There is no saving doctrine outside of the gospel. All else is night and darkness.
This day means the most beloved sun, Jesus Christ. As Malachi calls Him a "sun of righteousness" and says in chapter 4: 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall
So all who believe in Christ receive the brilliance of His grace and righteousness from Him and become saved under His wing.
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be encouraged by His grace and righteousness and be found saved under His wing. Amen
Sunday, December 17, 2000 Third Week of Advent
O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
The Psalms compel us not to regard that little word "grace" as some trivial, poor, isolated mercy to one or two people. But it is a general universal grace against the horrid tragic death of mankind, namely, against original sin, God's wrath and eternal death.
It means: "O you merciful, kind God! You have let us be as the grass that blooms in the spring that is withered and dies by your wrath and anger. Our life is shortened and your displeasure is spilled out over us. We pray you, dear merciful Father, to turn again to us. Fill us early with your grace. Not with a trivial, poor, isolated grace by which you will preserve the household, or the worldly kingdom, or the preaching office or the body's health, but rather give us a rich, overwhelming eternal grace by which we are eternally preserved and saved from the devil, death, sins and hell."
A ltb VIII 195-196 Luther's Commentary on Psalm 90
O Lord preserve us with your overwhelming eternal grace from the devil, death, sins and hell. Amen
Monday, December 18, 2000
Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. Psalm 90:16
Jesus came against such works of the devil with His Word and destroyed sins, death and hell. He gave His servants only grace, life and salvation. That is God's own work; that He makes sinners good, right, alive and holy. So He also works death and the death of the flesh in us as we hear in the law of Moses. Scripture also plainly says that God wounds and heals. He makes dead and alive, places into hell and helps again to escape.
"You have mortally wounded us with original sin; save us again. With death you have disheartened us. Comfort us again and make us alive. You have stranded us in hell, help us again to heaven. You have damned us by sins, receive us again through grace. Make us right and blessed"
A lth VIII 198 Luther's Commentary on Psalm 90
Lord, you have damned us by our sins. Receive us again through your grace. Make us right and blessed. Amen
Tuesday, December 19, 2000
I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8: 12
The gospel says, " I Christ, am the light." It is still impossible that you could e blessed because you are a sinner and therefore remain stuck in darkness. The law makes you more desolate than it helps. But the gospel says, "If you believe in me, you see that I, Christ, died for you and have taken away your sins. There is your help."
See that hereafter you do not teach the doctrine of which you should do for God, but rather what you have received and found.
Lord, might we never proclaim what we have done for you but rather proclaim what you have done for us. Amen
Wednesday, December 20, 2000
He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness. John 8:12
You can witness by His works and His example how good it is being called a follower of Christ. But it is Christ who draws the disciples to Him, saying, "Follow me. Hold my doctrine." So following Christ means heeding His Words that preach that He suffered and died for us. This is called "heeding His Words" with faith. Whoever follows Christ with faith grasps the light. He would not cast himself upon saints or follow heretics. Then he would follow jack-o-lanterns and erring lights, flattering spirits who seduce the people in fields at night. But this is right following; following in faith. We count on Him. Thereafter is another following so that you follow His example, do His works and suffer as He suffered. He teaches that. He desires that you see the doctrine, hold it, and forsake all other teachings that do not preach the Light that is Christ. So, whoever believes on Christ does not remain in darkness but will have the Light of life.;
Alth V 760 Sermon of Luther on Gospel of John 1532
Lord we count totally on you for our salvation. Amen
Thursday, December 21, 2000
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. John 8:15
Jesus says, " You do not judge rightly, but I have true judgment. Yet I judge no one." The world has its method. It brags, judges, avenges itself as Matthew records in chapter 7. Christ has not come to judge but to make us all alike so that one is like all the others. He wants to say, "Even if you are all damned, yet I have not come to damn. It is not a duty of my office to pronounce this verdict over you. Rather I desire to commute the sentence so you all remain unjudged and unsentenced."
So He praises His office and departs from the fleshly judges who quickly go out and sentence. He says, I have not come according to the flesh to judge. I judge no one. I already had that power. I could have and should have already done that. But I do not do that. I am not come for that. I commute the sentence, so that I bring others to me and they all become enlightened."
That is what our Lord did when he said, "It is finished" Commuted our sentence.
Altb V. Luther's Sermons on John 1932
Lord, we thank Thee that thou came to commute our sentence of death. Amen
Friday, December 22, 2000
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37
Luther says, " This text is just as comforting to others who are pious and believe to the same extent as it is terrifying to the godless, as He first says to the Jews. "On the other hand this preaching will not remain useless and without fruit because of you. Since you will not, someone else will. If you will not believe, another will. Your wisdom and cleverness don't approach me, for you know a better way that I could not show you. But still, there is a little group comes to me and receives my Word and believes in me. They eat my flesh ad drink my blood and have eternal life. They are called those "whom my Father gives me""
Abide with Me. Fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens. Lord with me abide. Amen
Saturday, December 23, 2000
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. John 17:6
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. John 17:9
The Lord's Word will not be grasped by human understanding as we see in heathen and philosophical books and teaching. They have figured God out according to reason. They have taught about God as if he were a man, like Cicero and Homer taught. They portray God as they would a man. That is also how the psirit of the sects speaks of God, as it desires, as reason thinks good. By that God's Word is forced to say what they want it to say. But God does not think as we people think or as our reason would like. Reason will not speak altogether of Christ. Everything that my reason forbid! That is excluded. Reason cannot do it. Kingdoms and human wisdom and everything that is not God hinders the effort and is of no use. But only come to this bread and spiritual meal where we eat the food and the bread of life. Only God must act! What peple do, as natural as it seems, is all a great hindrance. When a clever, learned, experienced person comes, when he wants to master this, he falls away from it with his clever reason.
But Christ wants to have students who are simple and humble themselves and who fall to the Words of God and let themselves learn. When they hear it, they do not judge and master the doctrine, but they let themselves be re-formed, mastered and taught. They submit to it.
A lth. V p.636 Luther 1532 Gospel of John
Christ, help us to be re-formed, mastered and taught. Make us submissive. Amen
Sunday, December 24, 2000 Fourth Week of Advent
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6
Jesus is not merely called "kingdom of peace" as Solomon- means in Hebrew, but Prince of Peace, Shar-Shalom. That peace is established in His authority, as a prince and Lord who is so mighty in peace in His kingdom that He gives peace to His own.
In His peace we are not lordly and mighty. We are sometimes broken and taken, even in the strongest kingdoms. But our Lord is in every corner and watches every moment and can preserve peace mightily as Psalm 121:4 says, "Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."
In short, Christ's kingdom is pure peace. For God always acts towards Him for good and never for ill. So do not act to harm one another but always for each other's good. Then our enemies can do no harm, for the Christians gladly suffer.
We find our peace from Christ, the Prince of Peace.
When Jesus enters meek and lowly to fill the home with sweetest peace, When hearts have felt His blessing holy And found from sin complete release. Then light and calm within shall reign And hearts divided love again. Amen
Monday, December 25, 2000 First Day of Christmas- Christmas Week
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
Christ takes our birth from us to himself, and submerges it in His own birth. He gives us His birth so that we become pure and new in it as if it were our own. So every Christian would rejoice and praise this birth of Christ no less than if he also were bodily born of Mary, just as Christ was. Who does not believe it, or doubts, is no Christian. Oh, that is a great joy of which the angel sings! That is the comfort and the overwhelming goodness of God that a person who believes this great treasure could boast that Mary is his true mother. Christ is his brother and God is his Father. These things all truly happened, so we believe. That is the chief part and greatest good in all the Gospels.
Erl 10 p134-136 Luther's Christian Day Sermon on Luke 2
Joy, O Joy, beyond all gladness, Christ hath done away with sadness! Hence, all sorrow and repining, For the Sun of Grace is shining! Amen
Tuesday, December 26, Second Day of Christmas
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of Peace
We hold that this child is a natural, but guiltless, holy child and that the same one is altogether ours. Along with what He is, has, does and desires. So because He is holy and guiltless, we also will be holy and guiltless because He is born to us. Therefore, His holiness and innocence is ours, as if we had them ourselves, and we clothe and adorn ourselves in them before God. They are our jewels that are given us so that we believe in another that He is true. So we are innocent and holy in the innocence and holiness of this child.
God has given us this Son. He doesn't say that the Son is born to us, but given. Those are God's loving Words. He calls him son, by which He makes known that this King is not only a man, but also by nature true God. He must be the Son of another than all the rest of mankind because He will do such things as is said: even if all sons were our own, yet it would not help us at all because there is no one who can break sins, death and the law. If He will now break the power of sins, death and the law, He must truly have divine power in Himself, especially since He will not do it for Himself but for us as He is given to us. For to help other people with sin, death and the law, nothing but God's might prevails.
Erl. 15: pages 87-89 Isaiah Luther's Sermon on the Kingdom of Christ.
We should all be lost, forlorn, No true hope possessing. Dear Lord Jesus, thanks to Thee Now and through eternity for this grace and blessing. Amen
Wednesday, December 27, 2000
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14
Christ has now again brought the glory of God, His Father. By this He taught us that all our affairs are nothing but pure wrath and disfavor before God. We can in no way brag nor can we be satisfied with anything of ourselves, but rather must fear and be ashamed as being in the greatest danger and shame so we must shove our glory and self- satisfaction to the ground and become nothing, We become joyous that we are done with them so we can be found in Christ and be established.
We rejoice today that Thou has revealed Christ was born to comfort and to save us. We who believe no long grieve. We grasp the hope that you gave us through Christ. Amen
Thursday, December 28, 2000
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
First, we must see why John calls Him the Word, which is a poor name in our ears compared to the high majesty. The Scriptures sometimes call Christ according to His divine nature God's Son, God's Word, as God's picture and likeness, so that through the gospel we know not just about the nature of angels, what they are and how they live, but more than that God has poured Himself out and so completely revealed Himself, though in faith, that we know how the highest majesty and most hidden nature is enclosed, which is completely higher than is revealed in His creation. Therefore we have a great mighty light and surpassingly rich knowledge. God grant that we learn it and be thankful for it!
Namely, first Christ is called an exact image or a "knock-off" of the Father that is like Him in all things as Paul says in Colossians 1:15. "He is the living image of the invisible god." And to the Hebrews in chapter 1:3, "an image of the Divine nature," that is, a picture that is even there God and has the same nature, more identical than a seal which presses itself into wax and makes an exact image. So with such images the prophets and the evangelists want to express the divine nature so that he is in every measure the same as the Father and with the Father. It is not like when someone describes a "knock-off" or a seal. For when these are used the seal conforms to it, but only the image remains. But in this "picture" of God everything God is inheres. If the seal itself could take on the wax unto the seal, and make one thing out of the two, then it would be a full comparison. It is as if a person could paint a picture of a man so the picture had flesh and blood but each kept its own nature.
The Scriptures would now reveal that this Son is completely like the Father in divinity, all power, knowledge, might and in all ways, none excepted. In all things he is the same God. He is not painted, nor made or formed, but born from eternity so that he brings that nature with him. The divine nature itself follows in this portrait. So far the Scriptures teach us. It also remains there and we cannot hold it in any better way. Therefore, it is settled for us: As the Father is God, in every way, so the Son is also God and yet there is only one God. That could not be if he were a created image but he is born unceasingly and he remains in the same nature.
Lord, we thank Thee for revealing to us that you are the Word and the Word was with God and that you are the Word and you are God. Amen
Friday, December 29, 2000
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Clearly St. John has presented the chief part of true Christian doctrine and has established the highest article of faith. Christ is by nature truly God with the Father and additionally He is truly by nature a man. We learn what we are and what we are able to do when He speaks pure lightning bolts against all our human teaching of free will, trusting in works, and all fictitious divine offices. Thirdly, John presents what we have from Christ and what our faith brings us, through which we receive all that is in Christ.
Lord, we thank Thee for the ways you revealed yourself to us through the Word and your servant John. Amen
Saturday, December 30, 2000
But as many as received him, to them gave He powerto become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. John 1:12
See that you have the right kernel of the gospel and all our comfort, bright and clear, as the sun at moon; not that we become so completely stone-blind; that no one has considered such Words and passages, and not seized or considered it for what it is. How could one speak definitively and wonderfully about faith, if He, Christ did not make us children of God, and handle death and the devil? Yet He transfigures Himself further so one sees how He alone gives faith its honor, all works aside, lest anyone say that he accepts works in addition to it.
He will on you the gifts bestow. Prepared by God for all below. That in His kingdom, bright and fair. You may with us His glory share. Amen
Sunday, December 31, 2000
O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: because His mercy endureth for ever. Psalm 118:1
God makes such kind and gracious favor richly and mightily known beyond all our measure with his daily and eternal blessings. "Thy goodness lasts forever". That is, without interruption. It defends us day and night, preserves us in life without fail and gives the water, wine, corn, fodder, food, clothing, lumber, and all necessities that grow from the earth. It gives gold and silver, house and home, wife and child, beast, bird, and fish. In summary, who can count all of it? He does all of this fully and overwhelmingly every year, every day, every hour and every instance. For who can reckon the good he does when only He gives and preserves a healthy eye or hand? When we are sick, or must dispense with some blessing, then one sees for the first time what a kindness it is to have a healthy eye , a healthy hand, foot, leg, head, nose or finger. What a grace it is to have bread, clothing, water, fire, house etc. All from God.
Every good gift comes from you Lord, Your goodness and mercy endureth for ever and ever. Amen