Saturday, October 12, 2019

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Easter: 2nd Service – Jesus' Resurrection

Sun March 27, 2016
Matt 28:1-8
28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.



Luther's Explanatory Notes
1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

The first day of the week. The Scriptures begin the day on the previous evening, and the end of the same evening is the morning of the next day. Hence St. Matthew says here, that Christ rose on the morning, which was the end of the evening and the beginning of the first day of the week.

2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

An angel of the Lord descended. From Matthew it can easily be seen that Christ did not arise during the earthquake, but that the earthquake began when the angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. But Christ passed through the closed tomb, without disturbing the seals that were attached to the door at the entrance, just as he did on the evening of the same day, when he passed through the closed doors of the room where the disciples were assembled. By the earthquake and the appearance of the angel, the soldiers were so frightened, that they fell down like dead men. For the angel had not come to bring joy to them; but there were other people, whom the angel had come to comfort and to cheer.

Since the angels were appointed and sent as the first preachers to proclaim the resurrection of Christ, it is a sure sign that Christ rose from the dead for our welfare.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 

Do not be afraid. This is the first behest, not only to the women, but also to all baptized and believing Christians, who know and believe that Christ is risen, that they shall not fear. By the resurrection of Christ, we comfort ourselves against the devil, death and hell.

7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

Go quickly and tell His disciples. The other behest is, that they should bring the news to the disciples. But now see who are the disciples. Are they not, indeed, poor sinners, who behaved so badly toward the Lord, and forsook him so shamefully in his greatest distress, especially Peter, who also denied him? Besides, they are now together, and dare not show themselves before the Jews. They have no idea that Christ should live again, and immediately establish His kingdom. Thus we have in this behest the certain indication, that the Lord Christ has arisen for the consolation of these poor, weak-faithed, yea, almost entirely unbelieving ones.

8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Fear and great joy. Christ hereby teaches us all how we should make a right use of His resurrection, and rejoice and be of good comfort.

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Easter: 1st Service – Jesus' Resurrection

Mark 16:1-8 (NKJV)
16:1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


Luther's Explanatory Notes

1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

When the Sabbath was past. We must notice here that Mark writes in Hebrew [style] about the Sabbath, for the Jews began the day in the evening, and counted to the evening of the following day. (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13) so that the first and highest Sabbath began on the evening of the day when Christ was crucified; that is on Friday evening, at sunset; but Saturday was the high Sabbath, on which Christ lay in the tomb. Afterwards the Jews had seven whole days, which they celebrated, and called Sabbaths, and began to count with the holy day after the high Sabbath, and called it the first day of the Sabbaths; the third holy day after, they called the second Sabbath and so on.

Here the question arises, Why do we say, Christ arose on the third day, and yet he lay only one day and two nights in the tomb? To this we reply as follows: In his death he comprised parts of three days. So long and no longer must Christ remain in the tomb, that we must assume no corruption had taken place in his body; therefore Christ must rise on the third day, before corruption could set in.

2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large.

Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us? The women act here as timid and troubled people generally do; therefore they proceed without thinking of what was necessary; yea, they have no thought about the armed keepers, nor of the wrath of Pilate and of the Jews, but venture to go on their way. What impelled the good women to risk their bodies and their lives in this way? Nothing else but the affection and love for their Master. This courage they had not of themselves; but here immediately the power of the resurrection of Christ was felt, whose spirit makes these women (who are by nature very timid) so bold and courageous, that they even dared to do that which would have terrified men.

In these women we also have a beautiful example of a spiritual heart, which undertakes to perform an impossible work, of which all the world despairs. Faith can make such a heart, which sees only Christ; although these women had not yet the perfect faith. For they could neither believe nor think that Christ should rise from the dead, and become an eternal King; yet, by holding fast to the word, they have such a faith that they loved his life. They excel all others in Jerusalem, even the dear apostles. We see how much Christ is pleased with faith, that he is only concerned how He shall comfort such a heart. Therefore they also have the honor of first seeing Christ after his resurrection.

5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 

He is risen! He is not here. Christ is not here, so also a Christian must not be here. Therefore no man can confine either Christ or a Christian into certain special rules; it is said, He is not here; the husks He has left here; namely, worldly righteousness, piety, wisdom, law, and what more there is of that matter he has entirely put off.

But the factious spirits come on and say, "Very well, let us do as we please." But if becoming a monk, praying, fasting, etc., does not make you a Christian; then certainly it will not make a Christian of you if you tear down the monasteries, despise the government, eat your fill and get drunk. For a Christian, of whatever station he may be, is above everything on earth; the reason he is called a Christian is that he clings to the man who died and rose again, and is not here — in the sepulchre. Let a Christian abide by this and nothing else. After you have this treasure and riches, which is above everything, then go down and say: "A Christian must also live and be with the people," as St. Paul also says, (Col. 3:5,) "Mortify therefore your members, which are upon the earth."


Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 171-172

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Exaudi (Easter 7) (Sunday after the Ascension)

John 15:26-16:4
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
16:1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you."


Luther's Notes

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 

But when the Helper comes. He means to say: Besides this, that with which I comfort you now by my example, how it shall go with me and also by what you hear of that which you shall find in the world, (vs. 18-25,) to this I will give you an addition and a present. For an other shall come, when I am gone, and (as they shall think,) dead for ever, whose mouth they shall not be able to stop, but who will publicly testify of me, before all the world, regardless whether it will deride or rage. The same is sent and given by the Father and me, to the end that ye may know and the world must experience, that it proceeds from my power and might, and that what the Holy Ghost preaches through you is my Father's mind, command and will. He is a "Comforter," and when there is no more consolation in the world and ye are very much terrified and weak, he shall speak to your hearts, that you shall not despair.

This Comforter is also called a "Spirit of Truth." For his comfort is not like that of the world, which is temporal, but his comfort endures forever, and can deceive no one. The world has its comfort too, but it is a lying comfort.

But whence does the Holy Ghost take this consolation? "From the Father," says Christ here; for he says, "Whom I will send unto you from the Father." For he, the Father, is the originating 1  person; I am the Son; and the Holy Ghost proceeds from us and the three persons are one thing and essence, alike mighty and powerful, as he expresses it yet clearer and says: "The Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father." That is to say, He shall comfort you, he is almighty and the Lord of all things. For if the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, then it must follow that such Spirit is eternal; since nothing can proceed from the Father which is not like and according to his essence and nature.

But wherewith does the Holy Ghost comfort? Christ says, "He shall testify of me." For if the consciences shall be comforted, it must be done by the preaching of the death and resurrection of Christ, so that we can say: Though all should be lost, wife and child, house and land, goods and honor; yea, if it should be necessary that body and life should be given up, yet he lives above, who is called Jesus Christ, who for my sake became man, died, rose again and ascended to heaven for me.

But why does the Lord here use the word "testify?" For this reason, that we should attend the more to the word. For it is true, that the work of the Holy Ghost is inwardly in the heart. But such work he will carry on not otherwise than by the spoken word. Rom. 10:14.

 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
And you also will bear witness, etc. He shall first testify inwardly in your hearts, afterwards also outwardly by miracles and your confession and preaching, that you "who have been with me from the beginning," can say what you have heard and seen. But the Holy Ghost must be here first, otherwise you can do nothing.

Now when he says, you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning, he points out especially the apostles be fore all preachers, and confirms the preaching, so that all the world shall be bound to the word. 1 John 1:1-3.

1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.

 that you should not be made to stumble. For when ye shall see and experience, that all the world hates and perse cutes you, and especially those who are called the people of God and the true church, then you will be tried, either by doubts whether you have the true faith, or to become impa tient and unbelieving.

 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 

They will put you out of the synagogues. Here you learn that the gospel is such a teaching, which according to reason and human judgment is absolutely an irksome doctrine, which should be regarded not only as a great error, but as such a thing that should in no way be heard or tolerated, as the pernicious poison of the detestable devil. But he mentions two things with which the enemies of the Christians adorn their persecutions and life.

The first is, when he says, "They" (that is, not the openly bad villains, but those who are called the most prominent, wise, holy and as he says, servants of God) "shall put you out of the synagogues." This means nothing else than to be separated from the people of God, cut off and cast away as an unfit and condemned member, excluded from God and everything that is God's.

Now, where such excommunication and curse is pronounced there the other thing also must follow of which Christ speaks here: "yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service." For the execution or punishment, which the world imagines must be inflicted on such is, that they should be exterminated from the earth without mercy. (Deut. 13:8.) And this they will not do in secret, but in open court and with all honor and praise, and will not only allege their worldly authority, but assert that they must do this for God's sake, and for the sake of the Christian church, as her obedient members; that the Christians must so suffer and die, as the devil's members, and every one exclaims, Oh, what a truly holy priestly work and sacrifice has this emperor and prince done.

3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.

They have not known the Father nor me. It is necessary that we should make a distinction and learn that there have always been two kinds of churches. The false church takes the sword in hand and persecutes the true church. By this you can certainly know which is the false church, and still more certainly by what Christ says, "These things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me." This is the true touchstone. Now, what does it mean, to know Christ and the Father? There are two kinds of knowledge. The first kind is the knowledge which some also have of God. For they know, indeed, of him and say, " I believe in God the Father and his only be gotten Son;" but it is only on the tongue, it does not enter into the heart. Whoever would know the Father well must know him in Christ. But to know Christ in the right way, means to know that he died for me and has taken my sins upon himself. Then I ascend farther up from the Son to the Father and lay hold of God, where he is most tender, and think, O this is God, this is God's will and pleasure, that Christ has done this for me.

4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you."

Remember I told you, etc. The Lord Christ feels it very well himself that it is very highly necessary to tell them this, that they may stand against the great offense. He says, I said it not to you at the beginning; for thus far it has not been necessary, because I was with you. For while ye have me with you, they must leave you in peace, and can do nothing to you, unless they have done it first unto me. This Gospel, (vs.5-15,) is fine, beautiful, and rich beyond measure, but very high and sharp, treating of the high and necessary article from which we have our name and are called Christians.


----

Note 1: the translator used the word "insipient" at this point [meaning "foolish, stupid"] which is a mis-spelling for "incipient" [meaning "origin, beginning, start"].



Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 362-364

Monday, May 27, 2019

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Holy Saturday - Christ's Burial

Matt 27:57-66
57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

Luther's Notes

57. Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea. When the distress had become the greatest, and those who had been the finest Christians cringe and hide themselves, and out of fear, sorrow and sadness know not what to do, or where to stay, then Joseph of Arimathsea comes in, not a humble citizen as the Apostles were, but a councilor at Jerusalem, and a very rich man.

58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 

Asked for the body of Jesus. This was for him a dangerous venture; for thereby he sets himself against the whole council and also Pilate himself, who had condemned the Lord, and gave them to understand that he regarded Jesus as a pious, righteous man, who was wronged before God and the world.

This now is the fruit of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, that the weakest and most timid hearts come forth without fear or timidity, and confess Christ, and bury his body hanging in such disgrace upon the cross. God, as a rich householder, will have all kinds of servants, not only strong and tall, but also small and weak ones. Now, in order that the strong may not despise anyone, they must experience their own weak ness in themselves; and that no one shall judge another, the Holy Ghost comes upon the weak, exhorts, com forts and strengthens them to such a degree, that every one must see and praise the divine power in them.

60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

 Laid it in his own new tomb. The Evangelists tell particularly that the tomb was in a garden; that it was a new tomb, in which no one had yet lain, and that Joseph had it made for himself. This was done not only that the testimony of Christ's resurrection should be the more positive; but also because a remarkable corpse was to be buried here; it must have a new tomb. And yet this tomb was not his own, but belonged to Joseph. For he lies in the tomb for our sake. But as he had no tomb of his own, so that he would not remain in death and the grave, so also shall we through the power of his resurrection be raised up at the last day and live with him to all eternity.

It is well, also, to notice the example of Joseph, who had his tomb made while he was still living in the body; from which me may assume, that he had not neglected to think about his last hour on earth.

62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

command that the tomb be made secure. Here we find the counterpart; for the sun produces an effect according to the material on which it shines; it softens and melts wax, but it hardens and dries mud. This was the case also here.

After three days I will rise. First they lied and said he had spoken of the temple; now they speak the truth, and their former lie becomes apparent. Thus one must have seven lies to cover up one. But the truth comes out for all that and asserts its place.

lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away. Be fore Pilate they pretend that his disciples might steal the body; but the word of the Lord is such a sharp thorn in their hearts, that they apprehend, How, if after all he were the Messiah and would arise from the dead, what shall then become of us? But they do not reform with such thoughts; they do not reflect, Alas, what have we done! but become evidently worse. He who knowingly acts against the word, must fall deeper and deeper into sin, and the more he seeks for rest, the more restless and anxious he must become.

65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
You have a guard. Though the Jews had arranged everything, as they thought, in the best way, at last this dilemma only makes their case worse, and promotes the holy gospel against their will. After Christ had risen these very keepers brought the news.



Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 155-157.

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Easter Vigil – Jesus' Resurrection

Matt 28:1-10
28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Luther's Notes:

1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 
The first day of the week. The Scriptures begin the day on the previous evening, and the end of the same evening is the morning of the next day. Hence St. Matthew says here, that Christ rose on the morning, which was the end of the evening and the beginning of the first day of the week.

 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

An angel of the Lord descended. From Matthew it can easily be seen that Christ did not arise during the earthquake, but that the earthquake began when the angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. But Christ passed through the closed tomb, without disturbing the seals that were attached to the door at the entrance, just as he did on the evening of the same day, when he passed through the closed doors of the room where the disciples were assembled. By the earthquake and the appearance of the angel, the soldiers were so frightened, that they fell down like dead men. For the angel had not come to bring joy to them; but there were other people, whom the angel had come to comfort and to cheer.

Since the angels were appointed and sent as the first preachers to proclaim the resurrection of Christ, it is a sure sign that Christ rose from the dead for our welfare.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 

Do not be afraid. This is the first behest, not only to the women, but also to all baptized and believing Christians, who know and believe that Christ is risen, that they shall not fear. By the resurrection of Christ, we comfort ourselves against the devil, death and hell.

 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”


 Go tell His disciples. The other behest is, that they should bring the news to the disciples. But now see who are the disciples. Are they not, indeed, poor sinners, who behaved so badly toward the Lord, and forsook him so shamefully in his greatest distress, especially Peter, who also denied him? Besides, they are now together, and dare not show themselves before the Jews. They have no idea that Christ should live again, and immediately establish his kingdom. Thus we have in this behest the certain indication, that the Lord Christ has arisen for the consolation of these poor, weak-faithed, yea, almost entirely unbelieving ones.

8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Fear and great joy. Christ hereby teaches us all how we should make a right use of his resurrection, and rejoice and be of good comfort.

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Go tell my brethren. What a consoling message is this, in which he calls his disciples "brethren." This is not an unusual name among men. But when Christ, who is the Son of God, calls us brethren, then it is above all an excellently high and unspeakable name. This title is so high, that no human heart can understand it. If the Holy Ghost does not grant this grace, no one can truly say, "Christ is my brother." The righteous and pious Christians go about in self-abasement and fear, thinking thus: O, what am I, a miserable, poor creature, that the Son of God should be my brother ?

In the world, one often writes to another, "Dear Brother;" and yet in his heart, he may be his bitterest enemy, for whom he wishes all misfortune; but when Christ calls us brethren, he means what he says in his heart, that he will by all means be our brother, and regard us as brethren, and treat us as brethren. Yet there is this difference, that Christ is in himself the natural and eternal Son of God, but we are his adopted children by faith, and not his children by birth. The word, therefore, by which the Lord calls his disciples "brethren," is the true absolution, whereby he absolves us from all our sins.

What more do we want? Now, if Christ is our brother, I should like to know what more we want? Full brothers are joint partakers of the family possessions, they have one father, one inheritance, else they would not be brothers. Now, what is the inheritance of Christ? It is this of which Paul speaks. (1 Cor. 1:30) "Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption."



Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 157-158.

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