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.

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Ash Wednesday – Penitence and Repentance


Matt 6:16-21
16“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Luther's Notes

 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. Now, the Lord begins to warn against those temptations which hinder this doctrine, and takes up first the great beautiful vice of avarice. Also when Christ sent out his apostles to preach, his chief concern and warning was, that they should beware of two things — false doctrine and avarice. Matt. 10:9.

We see that the whole world is immersed in avarice ; for every one is concerned day and night how he shall be nourished. And this promotes the avarice especially, that none are satisfied with what God has graciously bestowed upon them; all want more and to rise higher.

As for my person, who am called a Christian, I should not search anxiously for gold to be laid up, but cleave with my whole heart only to God. Yet outwardly, I shall make use of the temporal possessions, for my body and for the good of others, and gather gold and treasures, so far as my personality in the world is concerned; yet not too much of it, that I may not become a miser, who cares only for himself and can never be satisfied.

Where moth corrupt. With the words, Moth, etc., the Lord places three mine-workers along side of earthly treasures ; namely, rust, moth and thieves. Now God has wisely ordered, that where there are treasures, there must also be companions who watch over it. Now see what kind of a god Mammon is, who has no better watchmen and courtiers about him .

20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. You, who are not of the world, but belong to heaven, and have been bought for this purpose by my blood, that you shall have an eternal inheritance, which has been prepared for you, do not let your hearts be taken in.

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Where your treasure is. If the heart is so disposed and shows it, where it can be shown that I would rather lose, not only gold and goods, but even my life, than forsake or despise the Gospel, and do injustice or violence to my neighbor for my own advantage, then I can conclude that gold and worldly goods is not the treasure of my heart.



Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 39-40.

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Maundy Thursday – The Lord's Supper

Luke 22:14-20
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

Luther's Notes

The Passover feast. Nothing is treated of in this passage about the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament, but only of the eating and drinking of the Passover, which Moses commanded. Exodus 12.

In this verse he will say, With this Passover the Mosaic and Jewish pascal lamb, the priesthood, kingdom and service shall cease, and a new Passover shall begin in my kingdom of the New Testament. Therefore, I will also eat the Passover for the last time with you, in order that I may give it the last honor and make an end of it. Just as the Jews, Christ doubtless had shoes on his feet and a staff in his hand, as though he was ready to depart.

 I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes This also has no reference to the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, but it was a parting drink [Letzetrunk] in the Passover. As if the Lord would say, This shall be the St. John's drink, [Johannestrunk]. Now I drink it yet with you as it was ordained by Moses; but after this I will drink it no more. Upon this he established a new Passover.

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

And he took the bread and gave thanks. This text we can easily keep in mind, for it is not long, and besides is fine, plain and clear. Here let us open our eyes and sharpen our ears, and hold these words, certain and firm.

This is my body, this is my blood. He does not appoint a heavy work, for eating and drinking is the very easiest, yea, the most pleasant work in the whole world, and there is nothing which men would rather do.

When one preaches of the sacrament, it is a burden to them (i.e., the unregenerate, Tr.); when one exhorts them, they regard it as a still greater burden. For they fear they must become pious and forsake their sins. It is true, we shall be pious and for sake our sins; yet we must not frighten people away from the sacrament; for it is a lovely, consolable meal.

Just as he baptizes you, and puts you into the water, not that you should be drowned and perish in the water, but that through this bath thou should be redeemed from sin and born again; thus also he gives you in this sacrament his body and blood to eat and to drink; not to strangle and kill you, but to refresh and quicken you.

Two reasons for taking the sacrament. Two reasons should urge us to partake of the sacrament. The first is our own benefit and need; I shall partake of the sacrament, that I may be relieved of my sins and quickened in my spiritual life.

In the second place, we should be induced to receive the sacrament by the honor and service of God, who has instituted it, and commanded us to celebrate it. Many of the old church fathers have called it the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving.

The pope has made a sacrifice out of the sacrament (or an office, that is, a divine service,) and such a sacrifice whereby the whole world should be reconciled to God, though neither the sacrament nor the use of the sacrament is a sacrifice of works, whereby the grace and help of God can be merited or acquired; but the use of the sacrament, or the remembrance of Christ (as the Lord himself calls it,) is a thank offering, whereby we confess and thank God that we are justified and saved out of pure grace and the sufferings, death and shedding of the blood of Christ. This is the meaning of what Christ says, Do this in remembrance of me. With the words, remembrance of me, he sets aside the remembrance of the old Passover lamb.

What shall we preach? Some might ask, Shall we preach nothing, but that Christ died for us? Is it not enough to preach this once? I have heard it often and understand it very well now. Answer: The Jews were required to think of their redemption out of Egypt, not only once, but repeatedly and continually. Why then should we Christians take offense at continually repeating the remembrance of our redemption, wherein Christ has redeemed us from sin, death, hell and the devil? I will say of myself : I am a doctor of the Holy Scriptures, yet the more I consider the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the more I delight in them.

When you forsake God's word and prayer, you lose a power and fervor of your soul. Therefore we must daily run back to the word. If you do this not, then see to it, that you do not become too cold and too indolent, until at last you yourself have no more feeling, and in a few years remain away from the sacrament.


Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 260-262

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Ascension

Mark 16:14-20
14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Luther's Notes


The Gospel of the Ascension. St. Mark comprises very briefly in this Gospel of the ascension all that Christ said and did after his resurrection until the fortieth day, when he ascended to heaven, which he did not speak and do all at once, or even in an hour. Therefore we must divide and distinguish the two parts, which are here briefly drawn together; namely, that the Lord here reproves the disciples for their unbelief (v. 14) and that he commands them to go and preach, according to the other Evangelists. Verses 15-18.

unbelief and hardness of heart. It was not a small weakness of which Christ charged the disciples, that they were not only unbelieving, but also stubbornly hard hearted, because they believed not what they had heard and others had seen, that the Lord had risen from the dead. Neither is it a small matter, since unbelief is the greatest sin that can be named, and he tells them the reason of their unbelief, when he says: "Their hearts are hardened;" yet he deals kindly and mildly with them.

But let no one imagine that the apostles were altogether unbelievers; for they believed what is written in the law and the prophets, although they were yet deficient in faith. They did not yet believe the resurrection of Christ from the dead. They believe that the resurrection of Christ is nothing else, than that we have a mediator before God who is Christ, and who makes us pious and accept able to God the Father. Without this faith we are children of wrath and can do no good work that would be acceptable to God, nor would God hear our prayers. 1 Cor. 15:14, 17; Rom. 10:9.

Go into all the world, etc. These are words of majesty, which can properly be called a majesty, that he commands these poor beggars to go out and preach this new Gospel, not to a single city or country, but in all the world, principalities and kingdoms, and to open their mouths freely and confidently before all creatures, in order that all who belong to the human race may hear this Gospel.

When this Gospel shall have been preached and heard in all the world, the proclamation will be accomplished, and then will also come the last day.

It is with this proclamation of the Gospel as when one casts a stone into the water, which produces constantly widening circles, till they reach the shore.

Go preach. For the Gospel is not entirely that which is written in books, but it is also an oral preaching, which must be heard.

The old law, and that which the prophets preached, is not proclaimed to all creatures in the whole world, but is preached by the Jews in their synagogues; yet the Gospel shall not be circumscribed, but shall go out irresistibly into all the world. Because he will have none excluded, he indicates that this is a new Gospel, of which the world knows nothing.

He who believes shall be saved. This may rightly be called a Gospel. For here you have in one word heaven opened, and hell closed. Oh, if one could here only learn these two words, Faith and Salvation!

He who believes and is baptized. He purposely spake these words so clearly and plainly to exclude the false views and presumption of the Jews, and of all the world in regard to their own works and deeds, and refers everything to faith and baptism; that is, not to our, but to his own work. Our high learned doctors intended here to master the Holy Ghost and sharpen his tongue, by saying that good works also belong to faith, and that faith is not sufficient for salvation. But we must let this verse stand clear and pure, with out any addition.

Something more. But Christ also says, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Here you might say, Now I hear that baptism, also, belongs to it. Yes, certainly it belongs to it; but baptism is not a work, which we perform, but it is God's work. For he that baptizes me stands in the place of God, and does not the work of man. God, who will not and can not lie, gave me the sign, that I shall be certain that he is gracious unto me and will save me. Therefore baptism shall accompany faith, because God wills it, that the faith shall not remain concealed in the heart, but shall break forth, and become known and manifest before the world. Again, no one could be brought to the faith by us, if we did not publicly profess the Gospel and have an external sign, whereby we could know where and who were Christians.

but he who does not believe. Once more Christ says, "but he who does not believe will be condemned." But here you must let the words remain as they stand. For he does not say, he who does not believe and does evil works besides; but plainly thus: If you have all good works and faith is lacking, it is vain. As little as sin can stand before faith, so little can good works stand before unbelief. He who does not believe, can certainly do no good work; but it is all sin. (Rom. 14:23.) "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

These signs shall follow. Some argue and interpret the signs spiritually; but they do not bear such interpretation; for thereby the Scripture becomes vacillating and unstable. Some say that although not every one has or can do these signs, yet they are given to the whole congregation, or the whole multitude of Christendom, so that one casts out the devils, another heals the sick, and so on. Therefore they say that such signs are a manifestation of the Spirit, that where these signs are, there is also the Christian Church, and vice versa. But these words do not refer to the congregation, but upon each individual especially, as is indicated in John 14:12. (See Matt. 10:8; Psalm 91:13.) For a Christian has like power with Christ, is in communion with him, and sits with him in the entire life.

But let no one undertake to do these signs, unless there is an absolute necessity. For Christ did not say that they must always continue to do such things, but that they shall have the power to do them. The disciples also did not always exercise them, but only for the attestation of the word of God, and to confirm the same by miracles, as it stands here in the text, verse 20. But as the Gospel is now spread abroad, it is not necessary to show signs, as in the times of the apostles.

He was received up into heaven. It is easily said and understood, that the Lord ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God. But it is a dead and meaningless word, unless it is received in the heart. Therefore we must let his ascension and sitting on the right hand of God be an active and powerful thing that is constantly in vogue, and not think that he ascended and sits there, and lets us rule here; but he has ascended, because he can work and rule there much better. When he was on earth, he was too far from us; now he is very near to us. (Ps. 8:5-7; 2:7; 110:1, 5-7;  58:19.) But reason can not grasp how this comes about; one does not hear or see it; therefore one must only believe it.

And they went forth and preached everywhere. Whence do they now receive such courage and power? No king of Persia has given it to them, but only the Lord, who has this day ascended to heaven and sits there, and who commanded them to go and preach to all creatures, and they have succeeded, and thus it still goes on to the end.

The Lord working with them, confirming the word with signs. But such external signs (v. 17, 18) are, indeed, small and almost childish miracles in comparison with the real, great miracles which Christ works in Christendom without cessation by his divine, almighty power; namely, that Christianity is defended and upheld on earth, and that the word of God and, yea, that even Christianity yet remains against the devil and all his angels, and also against so many tyrants and factions ; yea, also against our own flesh and blood, all of which storm against the church of Christ.

Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 172-174

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Rogate (Easter 6) Prayer

John 16:23-30
23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”


Luther's Notes

23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 
whatever you ask the Father in My name In this text Christ shows us the defense against the hindrances and stumbling blocks of the devil and our flesh, that would draw us away from prayer. First, that we think by the devil's instigation: O, you are not yet qualified to pray ; wait awhile, till you are better qualified. Secondly, such thoughts also naturally arise: How can you pray to God ? You are too unworthy. In the third place, the devil comes with a thrust and suggests doubts to you, whether God will hear your prayer. On the other hand Christ shows in the text how we may resist such stumbling blocks. Here you have first the command, in which he tells them to pray, and reproves them also, for not having prayed hitherto. It is not said here that you should ask whether you are worthy or unworthy, but it is your duty to obey God.

In the second place, look also on the promise, which he confirms and strengthens with a double oath: Verily, verily, he will give it unto you, as if he would say, God is ready to give sooner and more than you ask; yea, he offers his goods, if we will only accept them. Is it not an eternal shame before God and all the world, that Christ must so solemnly swear, and yet we do not believe it, nor let it move us at once to begin heartily to pray?

To such a promise, in order that our prayer may be acceptable, belongs faith. See James 1:5, 6 ; 1 John 5:14 f.

But some say, I would fain trust that my prayer would be heard, if I were worthy and could do it well. Answer : Even thereby we become worthy to pray and to be heard, be cause we believe we are unworthy, and trust comfortably on God's faithfulness.

In the fourth place, we must ask something and present it to God for which we pray. Christ means this with the words: "Whatever ye shall ask;" whatever; that is, what you need. He himself explains this some what, and says, "that your joy may be full;" that is, pray for all necessaries, till you have obtained all entirely, and have fullness of joy.

Fifthly, we must also desire or wish that it may be done, which is nothing else than to ask, as Christ says, "ask." Others have called this the ascent of the soul to God (Rom. 8:26,"groaning.") Tribulations produce such groaning.

Sixthly, we must ask "in the name of Christ"; this is nothing else, than that we come before God in faith on Christ, and console ourselves with good confidence, that he is our Mediator. This is true prayer in the name of Christ, when we thus trust in him, that we shall be accepted and heard for his sake. This is the main article and foundation upon which prayer must stand and rest.

24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Ask, and you will receive. Of such prayer and name they know nothing yet; they imagined that as long as Christ was with them, they would need nothing. But with the prayer in his name, he wishes to indicate the difference between the Old and the New Testament, and between his precursors and his advent or present government. The dear fathers and prophets had also formerly prayed in the true spirit, but yet only to the coming Christ.

 Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. He speaks here with his Christians (for the others can and shall not pray,) who desire nothing higher than the name, kingdom and will of God, and have no greater joy than to see this come to pass. Those who pray falsely seek only their own.
25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 

but I will tell you plainly about the Father. We see that the dear Lord wished to speak with the disciples in the last hour and did not like to leave them in their sadness. Therefore he uses so many words. When he says "these things" he means what he has said before, "a little while," etc., (vs. 16, 21) for those were proverbs, that is, dark, mysterious sayings which they did not comprehend. "but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father." That is, I will very plainly explain and freely speak to you through the Holy Ghost of my Father, that ye shall under stand what the Father is, and what my going to the Father is; you will finely see how through suffering I ascend to the kingdom of the Father, (Luke 24:27). The "showing of the Father" is not to be understood, that he shall speak much to us of the divine nature, as the Sophists imagine; for that is fruitless and incomprehensible; but how he goes to the Father; that is, how he shall assume the kingdom and government of the Father.

 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 

In that day you will ask in My name. He says, You shall not only have reason to ask in many kinds of distresses, but you shall also know and understand what my name is and how you shall regard me; then the asking will come of itself. According to Joel 3:1, and Zech. 12:10 two things are promised to Christendom: the spirit of grace and prayer.

The Father himself loves you. True it is, Christ ceaseth not to pray for us; he sitteth at the right hand of the Father and intercedeth for us, as St. Paul says. But Christ says, Ye need not such prayer; for ye your selves can ask the Father. How then? Will he not be Mediator? shall we not ask in his "name?" Shall we come to the Father through ourselves? Answer: There is one thing connected with it, which you must also take along and draw both together. For thus he says: " The Father loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from God." For he will not so get out of the way, that they should pray without or outside of him. But when we have this Mediator in our hearts and believe that he came from God, to take away our sin and death, then we also can pray ourselves and such prayer is accept able to God for the sake of this name, that stands between the Father and us.

Here he himself explains how it must come about, when one would pray in his name: He says: "You love me, and believe that I came out from God." That is, you know me and love me; thereby you have me and my name, and you are in me and I in you. This faith in him brings us also to the Father and so every thing goes in his name. Here we are sure that Christ need not pray for us, for he has already asked for us (which prayer he made once, but which continues eternally and causes our prayer also to please him and be heard of him;) and we may now ourselves come through Christ and pray. Therefore he says, "The Father loves you." It is not your reason, but his love, He loves you; but for my sake, because ye love me and believe on me; that is, he sees my name in you.

Here in verses twenty-seven and twenty-eight we also see that to believe on Christ does not mean to believe that Christ is a person, who is God and man, for this would help no man; but the same person is Christ; that is, for our sake he "came out from God," came into the world and again leaves the world and goes to the Father. That is to say: This is Christ, who for us became man, died, rose again and is ascended to heaven; on account of such office he is called Jesus Christ ; and to believe this of him, that it is true, means to be and continue in his name.
28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” 29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
Again, I leave the world and go to the Father. To express what this means, to go to the Father, he says: I leave the world. The disciples now begin to understand in some measure. Therefore they looked upon him and said:

See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! They do this like good, pious children of Christ, as they understood it, and say it in love to him, just as good, simple people sometimes act as though they under stood it, though they are yet far from it; and yet this is done in simplicity without hypocrisy. Therefore they continue and say, "Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God." That is, We need not ask thee; for thou dost anticipate the answer, as one who sees the secrets of every heart and knows where we are lacking in our understanding.



Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 370-372

Friday, May 24, 2019

Okomaanoka kwa Yohana

Okomaanoka
Obweng’e bw’ayare ase ebuku eye

Ogochakera 1:1-8

1:1-8 Ogochakera na ogokwania
1:1-3 The Title Page
1:4-5a The Greeting
1:5b-8 Further description of Jesus

1:9-20 Yohana okorora Kristo
1:9-20 The Vision of Christ
1:9-11 John Hears the Voice of Christ
1:12-18 The Appearance of Jesus
1:19-20 The Repeated Command to Write
2:1-3:22 The First Vision: The Seven Letters
2:1-7 Amang’ana ase ekanisa y’Efeso
2:8-11 Amang’ana ase ekanisa ya Sumurina
2:12-17 Amang’ana ase ekanisa ya Parigamo
2:18-29 Amang’ana ase ekanisa ya Tiatira
3:1-6 Amang’ana ase ekanisa ya Sardi
3:7-13 Amang’ana ase ekanisa ya Filadelfia
3:14-22 Amang’ana ase ekanisa ya Laodikia

4:1-7:17 The Second Vision: The Seven Seals
4:1-11 John’s Vision of God
5:1-5 The Book with Seven Seals
5:6-8 The Lamb Before the Throne
5:9-14 The New Song in Praise of the Lamb
6:1-8:5 The Vision of the Seven Seals
6:1-9 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The First Seal: The White Horse
The Second Seal: The Red Horse
The Third Seal: The Black Horse
The Fourth Seal: The Pale Horse
6:9-11 The Fifth Seal: The Souls Under the Altar
6:12-17 The Sixth Seal: The Last Judgment
7:1-8 The 144,000: The Church on Earth
7:9-17 The Great White Host: The Church in Heaven
8:1-11:19     The Seventh Seal:
The Third Vision: The Seven Trumpets
8:1-5 The Seventh Seal: The Seven Angels with the Seven Trumpets
[here keep in mind both Gn 1 and the 10 plagues]
8:6-13 First Trumpet: Hail and fire mingled with Blood
Second Trumpet: affects the sea, 2nd day
Third Trumpet: rivers and springs of waters from land, 3rd day
Fourth Trumpet: affects the sun, moon, and stars, 4th day.
9:1-11 The Fifth Trumpet: The Locusts of Hell, darken sky 8th Egypt Pl
9:12-19 The Sixth Trumpet: The Army from the Euphrates
9:20-21 The Impenitence of those who Remain
10:1-7 The Angel with the Little Book
10:8-11 John’s Commission to Preach
11:1-14 The Church in the “Church”
11:15-19 The Seventh Trumpet
12:1-15:8 The Fourth Vision: The Seven Visions
12:1-13:1a The First Vision: The Great Red Dragon
12:1-6 The Dragon and the Child
12:7-12 The War in the Sky
12:13-1a The Dragon Persecutes the Woman
13:1b-10 The Second Vision: The Beast from the Sea
13:1b-8 The Beast Described
13:9-10 Overruling Providence
13:11-18 The Third Vision: The Beast from the Earth
14:1-5 The Fourth Visio: The 144,000 with the Lamb
14:6-13 The Fifth Vision: The Three Angels
14:14-20 The Sixth Vision: The Harvest
15:1-8 The Seventh Vision: The Angels with the Seven Last Plagues
16:1-21 The Fifth Vision: The Seven Last Plagues
Καὶ ἤκουσα μεγάλης φωνῆς ἐκ τοῦ ναοῦ λεγούσης τοῖς ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλοις·
16:1-11 The First Bowl: sores on beast worshipers
The Second Bowl: seas to blood
The Third Bowl: rivers and springs
The Fourth Bowl: sun
The Fifth Bowl: darkness
16:12-16 The Sixth Bowl: The Battle of Armageddon
16:17-21 The Seventh Bowl: The End of the World
17:1-19:21 The Sixth Vision: Christ and Antichrist
17:1-18 The Vision of the Great Harlot
18:1-24 The Defeat of Babylon
19:1-21 The Church’s Victory
19:1-10 The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
19:11-21 The Rider on the White Horse
20:1-22:5 The Seventh Vision: The Church’s Final Victory
20:1-3 Christ and Satan
20:4-6 Christ’s People’s Reign
20:7-10 The Defeat of Satan
20:11-15 The Final Judgment
21:1-8 The New Heaven and New Earth
21:9-21 The General Description of the City
21:22-27 The City Itself and Its Inhabitants
22:1-5 Paradise Restored
22:6-21 The Conclusion
22:6-7 Another Claim to Inspiration
22:8-11 John and the Angel
22:12-19 Jesus Speaks to John
22:20-21 John’s Final Word to the Churches

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