“Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Heb. 13:7)
Do you school children know what happened on October 12, 1492? Do you teenagers and adults know what happened on November 10, 1483? While many school children know that Columbus discovered America on October 12, over five hundred years ago, few Lutheran’s know that the great reformer, Martin Luther, was born on November 10, 1483, just nine years before the great explorer discovered our half of the world, Columbus explored seas; Luther explored Scripture, Columbus brought captives to Europe; Luther freed captives from the slavery of work righteousness. Long before Columbus or Luther were living, another explorer made his mark in the pages of history.
Although thousands of years separate the Apostle Paul from Martin Luther, their lives exhibit remarkable similarities. Both Paul and his student, Martin Luther, gave up on human pride and walked humbly in the footsteps of their Lord. On October 31, 1517, one monk, accompanied by a single companion, nailed the now famous Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
As a sincere Christian and student of the Apostle Paul, Luther felt that a Christian stays in pure humility. He knows that he is sinful and has deserved eternal death under God’s wrath. That moves a Christian to be humble all the days of his life. Since the sins of God’s children are so great that the whole world could not pay for them, the believer’s entire life is to be one of repentance. In fact Luther said just that in the first of his famous Ninety-Five Theses.
Luther was a follower of St. Paul, who was never ashamed of the testimony of his Lord. Both Paul and Luther were captive to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His Word. Paul called himself “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the Gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). Luther, standing before the rulers of the empire, said at the Diet of Worms that his conscience was “captive to the Word of God.”
For Luther, the Word of God was the treasure through which we come to know God, our dear Father, and Jesus Christ, our dear Savior.
That is why we must count it an honor to walk in the footsteps of Paul and Luther, who walked in the footsteps of their Lord – our Lord.
It was that conviction that gave Paul and Luther the faith and fearless courage to proclaim the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both showed courage in proclaiming the testimony of their Lord. Paul wrote to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1-2). To the Corinthians, Paul said: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in You, Whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). To the Ephesians, he wrote: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
The Reformation Festival shows us that Apostle Paul and Martin Luther were each brought from insignificance to greatness. Both faced frightening opposition, but God led them, and multitudes through them, from their earthly pilgrimage to their heavenly home. From the Land of the Reformation comes this advice: “Reformation is a continuous process. It is a continuous process not only in the sense that this renewal from the Word ought to take place again and again, but also in the sense that it is actually happening all the time. This kind of reformation takes place every Sunday—every day, in fact, the Church literally lives by the Word of God.”
Let us make this our aim: Christ in the heart, in the sermons, and the lips and in the lives of the preachers, Christ in the confessions, the hymns, the prayers of the congregation. Christ in the thoughts, the penitence the faith the hope. Christ will be forever uppermost in everything.
In such heartfelt devotion, may we continue to say and sing:
God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
To death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure
Throughout all generations. Amen.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31