Monday, May 23, 2011

Be Of Good Cheer

From Martin Luther's Commentary on John 14:17 - "...the world cannot receive [the Spirit of Truth] because it neither sees Him nor knows Him..."

“These words also contribute to the consolation of Christians. When they let their eyes roam about in the wide world and see the incalculable number of those who despise, blaspheme, and persecute our doctrine, and see that these are not simple and insignificant people but generally the wisest, the most learned, and the mightiest folk, and also those who presume to be the most pious and the saintliest—their weak faith is puzzled and offended, and they begin to reflect: 'Can all these prominent people be wrong, and can all that they say, maintain, and decree be untrue and damnable?' For our reassurance Christ affirms clearly and bluntly here that it is not and cannot be otherwise. He declares that these people cannot understand it; nor can it be expected or hoped for that the great multitude—composed as it is of the world’s greatest, noblest, and best, the notables of the world—should have the truth.

“...  Thus Christ wants to console His own with these words, as if He were saying:: 'Be of good cheer and unafraid regardless of what you see and experience. You will never succeed in making the world righteous. It is, to be sure, a matter of grave offense and great pain to see so many excellent, learned, prominent, and wise people, together with the great multitude, strive and storm against God’s Word and the clear truth of the Holy Spirit. Yet you must realize that it cannot be otherwise. There must be many great, mighty, wise, and "holy" people... fine, honorable citizens, both men and women, compared with whom you are as nothing—who fume against My Word. Therefore pay no attention to this, even though you are but a small number and all alone. For you hear that there is a large number of people who cannot hear and see the Spirit of truth. Even though we preached ourselves to death, even though we sang and sounded it before their eyes and ears, even though we painted it very clearly before their very noses, it would be of no avail. They cannot receive this Spirit but remain with their spirit of lies. But you, on the other hand, must remain with the little group which gladly hears and receives My Word and has the steadfast Spirit. Do not be afraid if the other multitude refuses to follow you. Take note that whatever you do in My name must be right and good in the sight of God and all the angels. And in the end even the world must involuntarily admit and praise this.'”

Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 24: Luther's works, vol. 24 : Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 14-16 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (Jn 14:17). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

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