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Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity

 Be of Good Cheer! Matthew 9:18-26

Be of Good Cheer! Matthew 9:18-26

Lutheran Service Book Hymnal: Divine Service Setting Three (click here to get your copy)

DIVINE SERVICE     Setting Three page 184

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

 OPENING HYMN 797 Praise The Almighty

PSALM   126 Psalms are found in the front of the hymnal

HOLY SCRIPTURE See below

IN OUR PRAYERS

DISTRIBUTION page 199

Distribution Hymn 556 Dear Christians One and All Rejoice

Distribution Hymn 662 Onward, Christian Soldiers

Distribution Hymn 726 Evening and Morning

Distribution Hymn 596 All Christians Who Have Been Baptized

CLOSING HYMN 965 God Bless Our Native Land


Isaiah 51:9-16                            The Lord Comforts Zion

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord!  Awake as in the ancient days, In the generations of old.  Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, And wounded the serpent?  10 Are You not the One who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; that made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over?  11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  12 “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13 And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy.  And where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, that he should not die in the pit, and that his bread should not fail. 15 But I am the Lord your God, who divided the sea whose waves roared— The Lord of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, that I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ”

Colossians 1:9-14         Forgiveness of Sins

9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 9: 18-26           Be Of Good Cheer

18 While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19 So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.  20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24 He said to them, “Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. 25 But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went out into all that land.

Sunday Sermon Notes

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Holy Trinity

November 11, 2018

Matthew 9:18-26

Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Today we are given two parables of faith in Jesus.  The first parable, Jairus’ daughter raised from the dead, is broken into two parts with the second parable, the healing of the woman with a flow of blood, in the middle.

Let us pray: O Lord, who works faith in sinners by means of You working Word, grant us the faith to receive what you have to give us today; in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

KJV Matthew 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

This miracle set is found in all three Gospels, so we can see the importance of knowing and understanding both healings.

The first is the ruler’s daughter. We should not overlook the fact that this was the daughter of an important official, one known by many. In some cases the entire crowd witnessed the miracle. In this case, the immediate witnesses of the miracle were few, but the entire circle of friends and associates, plus many more, knew of the ruler’s problem and participated to some degree in the actual mourning ceremonies.

Those who laughed at Jesus were just as important as the trusting family, since they were rudely shaken in their assumptions, of life and death, of who Jesus is. They were not laughing at a country bumpkin but at the Son of God, who raised the girl from the dead.

The faith of this ruler is infinite, since he assumed in his trust, that Jesus could take his beloved daughter from death to life again. What weakens us more than death itself? What can be done but mourn? Most people would have hoped for healing but given up at this point.

But the ruler trusted Jesus so much that he said, “My daughter is already dead, but lay Your hand on her and she will live.” In some instances, Jesus did not travel to the sick or dying person. But He did this time, and that meant the sermon of Jesus’ power went with Him.

On the way, a woman came up behind Jesus and vowed she would touch the hem of His robe. Her condition was equally devastating. Because of the issue of blood, she was ritually unclean and could not be touched – for 12 years. The more she sought help from doctors, the worse she became.

She should have been despairing in her inability to find any healing or comfort. She is a good example of those who have less and less and yet their faith grows and grows. She trusted in Jesus so much that she did not even think to ask him face-to-face. How could she? She was ritually unclean. She did not think to ask Jesus to touch her with His healing hands.

But she was certain that touching Jesus’ garment would alone be enough to heal her. And she experienced immediate healing when she did. Likewise, Jesus knew what happened and said so.

Here is a great saying that picks up on this healing – “If touching the hem of the garment of Jesus healed the woman with the flow, how much more will receiving the Body and Blood of Christ heal us?”

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

It is difficult to imagine faith being anything but good, when Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.” Faith is like a beggar.  Empty hands offered to Jesus; like a beggar; like Jairus’; like the woman. Faith receives what God gives.

Luther explains it well. He often preached on this theme. The Gospel is not for the rich, powerful, and self-satisfied. They are like pigs looking at the sacrament. They devour it and do not know what they are consuming. But they have no use for its comfort, since their comfort comes from worldly peace – having power, honors, and an excess of wealth (mammon). They worship these worldly signs of peace and not God.

However, the Gospel is a great comfort to those who are suffering. They feel the weight of their sins – but rejoice when they hear the simple Gospel being for them, also. They have bodily pain and disorders, so they value spiritual comfort that much more. And the great torment of all is emotional, which no one can see. Luther suffered terribly because of his great intelligence and his tender emotions. Others suffer from no temptation because they do whatever they want, until converted. But Luther was chosen by God to separate the Gospel from the Roman Catholic distortions of it, so Satan violently attacked Luther through his emotions. In seeking Gospel peace he wrote an enormous amount of material that still gives peace to people today.

Jesus did not scorn woman as unclean but praised her faith. His grace and love were so great that Jesus drew large crowds wherever He went. His enemies saw that. They were jealous and plotted revenge – all for the glory of God, of course.

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

Jesus continued on His journey to Jairus’ daughter. The professional mourners were making a racket, so Jesus kicked them out, giving them a morsel of the miracle to come by saying “The maid is not dead but sleeping.” They mocked Jesus with their laughter.

That is always worth considering. The same type of person who would laugh at the Savior (who was about to save a life) will do far more than that to us who are frail, sinful humans.

When they laugh at us, they are laughing at Jesus and the Gospels.

Why did Jairus accomplish so much for his daughter? He trusted God could accomplish this great miracle, a miracle beyond consideration for most people. Certain the Gospel had already reached Jairus and had its effect on him.

Finally, you also trust that Jesus can raise the dead, even Himself, a miracle also beyond consideration.  And yet Jesus is raised from the dead. You have the faith to receive Christ’s body and blood for your healing, which in this case is the forgiveness of your sin-sickness and, soon enough, your resurrection from the dead; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard and keep you in Jesus Christ, Our Savior. Amen.

Luther Sermon - Your Faith Has Healed You

                                  Luther Sermon - Your Faith Has Healed You

Luther Sermon - Your Faith Has Healed You

[THE WOMAN WITH THE FLOW OF BLOOD & JAIRUS'S DAUGHTER. READ THIS SERMON! IN IT LUTHER BEAUTIFULLY EXPLAINS WHAT THE GOSPEL, CHRIST, AND THE CHRISTIAN ARE. IT IS A REFORMATION CLASSIC!] THE TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.

Text: Matthew 9:18-26. While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And behold, a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: for she said within herself, If I do but touch his garment, I shall be made whole. But Jesus training and seeing her said, Daughter, be of good cheer; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute-players, and the crowd making a tumult, he said, Give place: for the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the crowd was put forth, he entered in, and took her by the hand; and the damsel arose. And the fame hereof went forth into all that land.

THE SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION:

By the little daughter of the ruler of this synagogue of the Jews is to be understood Judaism; by the woman, heathenism, both of whom Christ helps. Mark took special pains to add that the little daughter was twelve years old and that the woman had the issue of blood also twelve years.
Also that the damsel was healthy and strong and went about jumping and rejoicing, while the woman was lying ill. But when the woman was healed the damsel lay down and died. This signifies that the Jews delighted and rejoiced in God and his law, while the heathen remained in sin without God, and were not permitted to mingle among the Jews, Acts 10. Now since Christ came and desired to help the heathen and the whole world, the damsel, or the synagogue, begins to die, despises the proffered grace of God through Christ; but the woman meanwhile recovers her health, that is, the heathen obtain grace, which the Jews rejected; yet, at last Christ raises the damsel from the dead, which signifies that not all the Jews are lost, but many will return through the preaching of the Gospel and through faith in Christ. Romans 11. The substance, therefore, of the spiritual interpretation is: Christ goes and will raise from the dead the synagogue of the Jews; then the heathen nations came in his way and mingle with them; concerning this there is much here and there in the writings of Paul and the prophets.

1. Dear friends, you know that the Gospel is nothing else than a sermon about one person who is called Christ. And although there are many other books written here and there, and many sermons preached by many different persons, both about the heathen and the Christians, yea, also about the mother of God, St. Peter, angels and many of the saints; yet they are not Gospels, for this alone is the true Gospel which sets before us Christ, and teaches the good things we may hope from him.

2. Of course there is also at times something in the Gospel on John the Baptist, Mary and the Apostles, but this is not properly the Gospel, for they are taken into consideration so as more perfectly to indicate whence Christ came and what his office is. So Luke relates the history of John the Baptist from the beginning, his conception and birth; and that of the Virgin Mary, all which is written not for their sake, but only for the sake of the one person Christ, so that everything written in the Gospel concerns this person Christ alone. In St. Paul’s Epistles there is nothing written about the saints, all there is about Christ alone. The Evangelists describe what miracles and wonders Christ performed; but they write of no work that John or Mary did; but only what Christ did, how he helped the people in body and soul, and how the people clung to him.

3. For God has decreed it is his will that all should cling to the one man Christ, to hope in him and hold fast to him if they would be saved. Thus they know nothing of any one aside from Christ, who alone has been presented unto us by God as our mercy-seat, as St. Paul writes, Romans 3:25. Hitherto one has clung to this saint, another to that, one has had Mary, another Saint Barbara, and there have been manifold sects and orders. But no one cared anything for Christ except for the name. We have had many mediators, all of whom we abandoned and held only to Christ. Therefore St. Paul says in Romans 1:2, that the Gospel was promised by God through the prophets concerning his Son. And he insists upon it so very strongly, that nothing avails in the Gospel except the one only person, Jesus Christ. He who knows this may well thank God, that he knows where to place his comfort, help and confidence, and he will then despise and cast away all sermons about other persons.

4. For this reason the Lord is pictured to us in to-day’s Gospel, mingling among the people, drawing all the world unto himself by his friendliness and comforting doctrine so that they may cling to him with their hearts, depend upon his goodness, and hope to receive from him both spiritual and temporal treasures. Nor do you see him take anything from those he heals and helps; yea, he receives nothing from them but scorn and mockery, as we shall hear. Good deeds proceed from him, but he receives mockery and scorn in return.

5. Now this is preached and submitted to the whole world, that they may learn to know this man aright, and to know how to become Christians, not how to become good and innocent. Other doctrines outside of the Gospel, like the books of the heathen masters, insist that the people should through them become good; again, the legends of the saints especially insist that the people are to live as the saints lived. To make good people does not belong to the Gospel, for it only makes Christians. It takes much more to be a Christian than to be pious. A person can easily be pious, but not a Christian. A Christian knows nothing to say about his piety, for he finds in himself nothing good or pious. If he is to be pious, he must look for a different piety, a piety in some one else.

6. To this end Christ is presented to us as an inexhaustible fountain, who at all times overflows with pure goodness and grace. And for such goodness and kindness he accepts nothing, except that the good people, who acknowledge such kindness and grace, thank him for it, praise and love him, although others despise him for it. This is what he reaps from it. So one is not called a Christian because he does much, but because he receives something from Christ, draws from him and lets Christ only give to him. If one no longer receives anything from Christ, he is no longer a Christian, so that the name Christian continues to be based only on receiving, and not on giving and doing, and he receives nothing from any one except from Christ alone. If you look at what you do, you have already lost the Christian name. It is indeed true, that we are to do good works, help, advise and give to others; but no one is called a Christian by reason of that, nor is he on that account a Christian.

7. Therefore, if you wish to consider the word in its true meaning, you must identify a Christian by the fact that he only receives something from Christ, and has Christ within him; for this is what the word properly means.

Just as a person is called “white,” because of his white color, black because of his dark color, large because of his size. So also one is called a “Christian” because of Christ, who dwells in him and from whom he receives his blessings. So, if one is called a Christian because of Christ, he is certainly then not called a Christian because of his works. From this it also follows that no one is called a Christian by reason of his good works.

If this be true, as it undoubtedly is, then it must follow that our orders and sects do not belong under the Christian name, and they do not develop Christians.

8. Therefore they are deceivers, who preach or teach in the church, and occupy themselves with commandments, works and statutes, that accomplish nothing. Although they pretend to be Christians, nevertheless they still, under this name, attempt to burden and torment us with their commands and works. By reason of my works I may well be called one who fasts, one who prays, or a pilgrim, but not a Christian. If you were to weave all your works together and add to them all the works of others, you would still not have Christ, and from these things you could not be called a Christian. Christ is something different and higher than law and the commandments of men. He is the Son of God, who is ready alone to give and not to receive. If I am so wise as to take what he offers, I have him, and if I have him I am then justly called a Christian. Thus you have the distinction as to what a Christian is and what Christ is.

9. Now this Gospel teaches us that Christ is the greatest and highest person, renowned in all the world, not in order to terrify the people, but to pour out all earthly and heavenly gifts, so that all men may depend upon and trust in him, and continually receive from him alone what they need. If sin terrifies my conscience and preachers of the law come and want to help me with their works, they will accomplish nothing. Christ alone can help here and no one else. Yea, the others only make it worse, even if they were Peter or Paul, or even Mary, the mother of God herself. Christ alone can do this, being ordained of God to the end that he should send forth the good news in which is proclaimed how my sins are to be forgiven gratuitously, without any work or merit on my part, only and simply out of pure grace through faith in this Christ. If now I accept what is preached I have a comfort that my sins are forgiven me before God and before the world. If I at heart hold fast to this, then I am a Christian, and for this I thank God through Christ, who at all times gives me his Holy Spirit and grace, that sin may not harm me either here or at the day of judgment.

10. If I fear death and do not like to die, I find in this Christ a comfort and medicine, so that I care nothing for death. If terrified at the anger of God, I have here a Mediator. Many a one runs into the desert or puts on garments of coarse hair, and thinks he will force God not to be angry with him; but it will amount to nothing; whoever has not this Christ, on him the wrath of God remaineth forever, for it is so decreed. John 3:36.

11. Therefore, whoever would have a joyful conscience that does not fear sin, death, hell, nor the wrath of God, dare not reject this Mediator, Christ.

For he is the fountain that overflows with grace, that gives temporal and eternal life. Only open thy heart and hold it forth and you will receive all.

He gushes and flows forth, and can do nothing else but only give, flow and gush forth, if you can only believe it. You justly deserve that people should call you a Christian, when you are called a Christian by virtue of what you receive from Christ; if not, and you want to give him so much, you are no Christian. This is the rich precious word which St. Paul praises so highly, and can never sufficiently praise, that he so graciously gives us his Son, to pour out his grace over all who receive it. Romans 3:24 and Romans 8:32; Galatians 3:25.

12. From this it further follows, when a Christian does good works and shows love to his neighbor, that he does not thereby become a Christian or pious, but before this is done he must have been a Christian and pious. He indeed does good works, but his good works do not make him a Christian.

The tree brings or yields good fruit, but the fruit does not make the tree good. So also here, no one becomes a Christian through his works, but through Christ.

13. From this you understand what kind of people Christians are, and what their kingdom is, namely, that they are a multitude that cling to Christ, and have one Spirit and the same gifts with him. And through this all Christians are equal, and no one has any more of Christ than another; St. Peter is no more than the thief on the cross; Mary the mother of God is no more than the sinner, Mary Magdalene. In external acts and works, of course, there is a difference among them, for the Virgin Mary had a greater work to do than Mary Magdalene, St. Peter a greater work than the thief on the cross.

This is the case when we reckon according to works; but by virtue of our works we are not Christians. The Virgin Mary is not a Christian on account of her great work that she bore in her body Christ, such a costly and inexpressible treasure, as Christ himself said to the woman, Luke 11:27-28, who cried aloud among the people to the Lord: “Blessed is the body that bore thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked.” “Yes, blessed are they,” said he, “who hear the Word of God and keep it.” Here you see he exalts believers above his mother. For Christians are called Christians because they believe in Christ. Virgin and mother are two very beautiful names, but they are nothing in comparison to the name of believers or Christians. Again, St. Paul is so proud, that in his Epistle to the Galatians, 2:6, he gives the office of the great and high apostles a reputation which amounts to little before God, except as it brings a blessing and is of service to others.

14. Therefore we are all alike through faith in Christ. Although St. Peter has a stronger faith than I, it is still the same faith in Christ. For his Father offers his Son Christ to the promisouous crowd, and whoever receives him, gets the whole Christ, whether in weakness or in strength, it makes no difference. The woman in this Gospel who had been sick for a long time lays hold of Christ as well as Mary the Virgin, his mother did. Therefore Christians have the same Spirit, one is as high-born as another, St. Peter must call me his brother, and I can also call him my brother. Yea, Christ receives us unto himself and holds us as his brothers, as after his resurrection he said to Mary Magdalene: “Go unto my brethren and tell them, I ascend unto my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.” John 20:17. And St. Paul calls Christ the first-born among many brethren, Romans 8:29. Of this he speaks very beautifully in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, 8:9-12, where he speaks of weak brethren thus: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak. For if a man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And thus, sinning against the brethren, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, ye sin against Christ.”

15. The summary of this entire Gospel is, that we learn to know Christ aright, and not only that we have the mere name, but know that we have all things from him. If we are Christians we have all things, and God is our Father, and we are lords of all things in heaven and on earth; this no work of ours can bring to pass, be it as great and costly as it may. Now you see how far they are from the Christian name, who live under the dominion of the Pope. The Gospel preaches nothing but the one person, Christ; not even Mary, much less the Pope or any work, be it as costly as it can. It must offer Christ alone and no one else, whom God the Father has sent among us, only that we should draw all from him, and wait for his grace and goodness.

16. Now when they preach to you Christ as a judge, how he is to appear on the judgment day, and how you should do many good works that he may reward you for them, and you agree to this, then he will indeed be a judge to you and not a Savior. And if he be thus presented to you as people are accustomed to paint his mother showing him her breasts, this is actually to preach the devil and not Christ, who only gives but receives nothing. It is indeed true, when you have received from him, then good works will follow of themselves, without force or demand; and this is represented to us very beautifully in to-day’s Gospel.

17. For here, you see, Christ preaches the Gospel to the people. Now preaching is no insignificant work, for here he does us a great service, in that he becomes our teacher and instructs us, how we may come to the knowledge of himself. This is a part of his great grace and kindness. While he is here on earth he does not cease to teach, so that we may receive him as our Savior and Redeemer; afterwards he follows us with his good works which he manifests everywhere to everyone as he needs. You find no one in the Gospel who ever asked anything of the Lord, whose help was denied and not given. As many as came to him, blind, deaf, lame, palsied and dropsical, he received and helped all as they desired, and healed them from all diseases, as Luke 6:19 says: “And all the multitude sought to touch him; for power came forth from him, and healed them all.”

PART 2. — OF THE GOSPEL AND CHRIST IN DETAIL.

18. Thus he does also to this woman. The woman hears him preach, and perceives he is a good, indulgent man, who appears friendly toward all the world; then she also began to cleave to him and take courage to think, because he cast none away from him, she too was welcomed to enjoy his friendship and goodness. Therefore she lets all the Apostles go, and casts her heart’s trust and confidence only on the Lord, and says to herself: “If I do but touch his garment, I shall be made whole.”

19. Only see what a heart the woman had. Hers is indeed a noble, great faith and confidence. She did not think otherwise in her heart than that he would certainly help her, if she only touched his garment with her hand, and yet she is not so bold as to approach him openly. She regards herself as unworthy to speak to him or look at him; for she knows that she deserved nothing, and never did anything for the Lord. Therefore she so plans as to approach him from behind, falls down at his feet and merely touches the hem of his garment. There is nothing but mere awkwardness and unworthiness here. Who had merited that the Lord should permit the Gospel to be preached to these people? There is no preparation, no work; yet the poor woman is there and hopes to obtain great things from the Lord, that he would release her from her sickness. She had had an issue of blood for about twelve successive years. How could she earn anything under such circumstances, or how could she because of her disease be worthy of anything? Of course she was worthy, but only to receive and not to give; for at that time she was not able to give the least thing.

20. And this is the true preparation for the grace and goodness of Christ, that I feel my need of it. And then it harmonizes beautifully, that the two meet together, the rich and the poor, Christ and the sinner. Yet it is a great art, to persuade people that they are poor and in need of grace. It is a difficult matter, nor does the devil permit it to be done, but always diverts the people to their good works, that they may under no circumstances receive the idea that they stand in need of the grace and mercy of Christ.

21. The text says the wretched woman had the issue of blood for twelve years, and to cure it, had spent all her living upon physicians. And the more she spent for this purpose, the worse she became. Luke and Mark both especially refer to this, and show thereby that, the more the law and works are preached, the worse it becomes among us, and we receive nothing from it but one harm and injury after another. The conscience can never be quieted by our good works. When one sin is expelled from the conscience, another soon enters, yea, the medicine and the work often make a sin, where otherwise there is none, until we come to Christ; as this woman here who had been sick so long and would never have received help, had she never come to Christ, from whom she received her health without any work whatever; she gives him nothing, and only receives from him, and allows him to give.

22. So it goes with all sermons that do not preach Christ, and it is here indicated that we must constantly employ the Word, and always exercise ourselves in the Word without intermission, for such men we still find at all times, who have like anxious and troubled consciences. For this woman signifies all poor consciences who have an issue of blood, that is, they feel their sins. And the issue of blood flows continually and cannot cease. For flesh and blood does nothing but what they wish. Now when feeling gets the upperhand, the wretched people go to work and want to help themselves; then one does this, the other that, and none as yet has accomplished anything.

23. Hence many orders and institutions have arisen because men have conjured up so many works that all of them can scarcely be named. What was the cause of all this? Nothing but the conscience tormented with sin, that has so exercised and harassed us, that we thought thereby to redeem our souls and be free from all sins. But Christ was not in it, because we only wished to give without receiving. Therefore it has ever become worse with us, as with this woman, whom all the physicians endeavored to heal, but she never found one able to help her. Thus too we have believed all the physicians; if any one came who had accomplished some little work we welcomed him. Dear Lord, we were anxious to be well, were anxious to have a joyful conscience, and were anxious to be free from sin.

24. The physicians are the preachers of the law and the lords over Christians. If one were very anxious to be free from sin, what did they do to him? They gave him medicine, from which he only became weaker and sicker. This we have seen and in part also felt a great deal, how, to our great and real injury, the people sought to be good by means of their own works, and thereby deliver themselves from sin. But it did no good, we only became more and more discouraged by sin and death, so that there were no more discouraged people to be found on earth than just the priests, the monks, the nuns, and those who go about with their good works. If one had a boil, then the druggists had to work, there was a drugging, a going and running as though the soul would immediately pass away; thus they were afraid and discouraged. And no one fears the last judgment so keenly as just these very spiritual people. This they also beautifully show, when they so treat of works that they always add one work to the other, and never constantly trust in any single work; and the more they do the worse they become, the more discouraged and unbelieving they become, and it is with them just as with this woman.

25. It is quite a beautiful parable, and is well adapted for our benefit. We have not only spent our temporal goods for this purpose, but we have also risked our lives with fasting, with castigation, and with other unbearable burdens, so that some become insane over it, and lose all their natural strength and finally lose their souls in the bargain. I have also been one of these and have been caught deeper in this drugstore than many others. I could not so quickly come to the point, to cast to the winds the law of the Pope. It was a bitter and difficult task for me to eat meat on Friday, and conclude that the law and order of the Pope amounted to nothing. God help us, how difficult it was for me, before I dared to do it! Therefore one should become free from this in his conscience, and despise the traditions of the Pope, to do which he must indeed have a strong, firm foundation in faith; if he has this not, he will think several times before he takes the risk.

26. And as it was with this woman, who spent all her living upon the physicians, and even then was not made whole, yea, only became worse, so it is with us. Here all our works, cares and labors are lost. Here all our human obedience and all our orders fall to the ground, and all we spent in that line was wholly lost. Now we see the laws and traditions of the Pope and the bishops are nothing, before which we trembled and feared. All this helped us just as much as it did this poor woman, who spent all her goods and possessions, yes, and also risked her life to this end. O, what medicine and treatment this woman had to use! How tried, weak and sick she often became from them! Yea, if she could have become well, she would have devoured the whole drugstore. But all availed nothing, she had to bear her sickness for twelve long years.

27. But how was the poor woman at last helped? As soon as she approached the man called Christ and placed her hope and comfort in him, she became well. But who directed her to this man? Of course the physicians did not. For when our pastors preach Christ, the affairs of the Pope and all his traditions are overthrown. Who then told her? She heard it from some one who also had been healed, and that not by the physicians.

He without doubt told her there was one who is called Jesus, who is a friendly, gracious man, helps everyone, and allows no one to go from his presence unassisted, and that he is sent from God just for the purpose of helping everyone. And many had told her who received help from him. So that they also brought her to him. As the woman heard these things she abandoned the physicians and went to Christ.

28. And so it takes place to-day. Christ is not preached, but only mere human works: do this, and do that. And in spite of this the knowledge of Christ enters among the people, what we are to expect of him, and that he alone must do everything, without our works and merit. When we hear this voice we follow him, and obey his Word, and let the physicians go for good, and care no longer for the preachers of the law or of works, nor inquire about their commandments and traditions, but we go with all the desire of our heart to this man, called Christ, and say: Yes, indeed, from this man we must receive it without any merit, yea, how foolish I acted, that I ventured so much for it! May God bless thee, my dear Pope! May God bless you, my dear bishops, monks and priests, I shall never need your medicine again, your work and merit, your commandments and traditions, you have martyred me too long with these things. I have found one who gives me all things freely, that I in time past had to buy from you with piles of money. He gives it to me without work or merit, whereas I before had to risk my body, strength, health and life for it. Good night and farewell! I will never come to you again.

29. Thus one becomes a Christian, not by the decretals of the Pope, or by means of works and human traditions, but by the grace and kindness of Christ. Now whoever has a troubled, distressed conscience, fears sin and is terrified at death, or otherwise experiences no good in himself, let him come hither to this man and confess what ails him, call upon him, and he will most certainly help. “Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us,” Psalm 62:8; 50:15, and say to him: Behold, here is an empty vessel that needs to be filled. Fill it, O Lord! I am weak in faith, strengthen me; I am cold in love, warm me and make me burn, that my love may flow out to my neighbor. I have not a firm, strong faith, at times I doubt, and cannot wholly trust in God! Alas, Lord, help me, increase in me my faith and trust. I have locked up the treasure of all my goods in thee. I am poor, thou art rich, and hast mercy on the poor, I am a sinner, and thou art righteous. In me is the river of sin; in thee is all fullness and righteousness.

30. If you once learn this, the laws of the Pope cannot take thee captive.

From his laws and commands you receive nothing, but like this woman you spend everything you have, your body and goods, and at last your soul besides. And then you will say: I desire him from whom I can receive something, not him to whom I must give.

31. The other Gospels write thus of this woman: When she became well Jesus felt that a power had gone out of him, and turned to the people and asked: “Who is it that touched me? And then the Disciples answered: “Master, the multitudes press thee and crush thee;” but the Lord was not satisfied with this, and replied: “Some one did touch me; for I perceived that power had gone forth from me,” Mark. 5:25; Luke 8:46; I know that some one has received something from me. The Lord did all this because this woman’s faith was acceptable to him, which he desired to make known to all people. For he desires nothing more than that a man trust and believe in him. It was also done for the sake of the ruler, to confirm his faith by this miracle and transaction. Therefore Mark writes thus: As the woman saw that the Lord knew it, she feared and trembled and came and cast herself at the feet of the Lord and told him all in truth that was done to her by him. Then the Lord goes to work and absolves her and says to her: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

32. Are not these friendly words? What joy must not this woman have experienced, as she permitted another to show her a kindness? This joy and peace all receive, who look to this man for help. Now where this joy is there its works must immediately follow, which prove this joy. So the peace and joy in this woman had to become manifest. For as soon as she received the good deed from the Lord, she confessed it before all the people, and was not ashamed to have it told that she received something from him, and yet gave nothing for it. This work and thanksgiving, however, God desires from us, namely, that we confess and proclaim his kindness, grace and good deeds before all men, so that others may also come and receive his benefits as this woman did. Thus my Christian life urges me to do good to others, as God has done to me through Christ, only that thus Christ may become known; but thereby I do not become a Christian. Just as this woman is not made whole by her knowledge, for she was well before all her work and knowledge. But after she becomes well she confesses Christ, and praises him, only for the good of others, and goes and does good works, one after the other. Thus we, too, live, if we are only Christians, in order that one may serve the others wherever we can.

Hence, as this woman became well before she did all her works, so we Christians must also become whole before we can do any good works.

CONCERNING THE DAUGHTER OF THE RULER.

34. As the Gospel is represented in this woman, so it is also represented to us in the daughter of the ruler. This ruler of the Synagogue whom Mark calls Jairus, had a strong faith and confidence in the Lord that he would raise his deceased daughter to life. For had he not had such a disposition of heart toward him, he would not have come to him, and requested a thing of him which was by nature impossible. Therefore in this he shows his faith.

When now the Lord observed the faith in him, he could not but do his will, and immediately arose and went with him. During his journey the history of this woman takes place, who had been sick for twelve years, as we have heard.

35. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd making a tumult, who were there in compliance with the law of Moses, and blew with horns and trumpets, as in our country the bells are rung, to call the people together; he commanded the people and the fluteplayers to give place and said: “The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” And they laughed him to scorn.

This means that, when the preaching of the Word goes forth thus, that Christ is the man who helps and our works will not do it, then the world cannot avoid it, it must laugh and scorn, and be offended ( 1 Corinthians 1:23), for it is not acceptable to the world that Christ should help us. As the people do here, who said without doubt: Alas, this is a grand master or doctor, what shall he help? for he does not know what it is to sleep or enter the grave?

36. In the world the Gospel must have the reputation of being a foolish sermon, despised and scorned; for the devil cannot hear that this preaching is honored in the world, for it brings no advantage to his kingdom, this he feels, of course, and hence he attacks it with all cunning, so that he may hinder it and cause it to be worthless among his own followers, whose hearts he has entirely blinded and possessed, that the light of the Gospel may not shine for them, as St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4. For it is impossible that the preaching of Christ should not produce some fruit. It will not be preached in vain, Isaiah 55:11; although there be but few who receive it, it matters not.

37. As satan feels it is a loss to him, and that the preaching of the Word is directed against his kingdom, he has no rest, he persecutes, despises and attacks it on all sides, as he at present rages and storms in all the world.

For the preaching of Christ overthrows everything pleasing to the devil and the world, and what the world regards as the most holy and costly. For the world paints for itself a god who accepts our good works, and is pleased with the mass, vigils, foundations, rosaries, caps, pates, hempen ropes, and what more be the works of fools with which the Pope is employed. Now when one comes and brings the Gospel, and preaches against this nonsense of the Pope, and he is obliged to do, and says: It is nothing, it is deception, it is opposed to Christ and the Scriptures; he must suffer himself to be called a heretic and a worthless fellow, a perverter of the people, and then they quite grandly assert: Do you want to rule the whole world? do you think you are the wisest? Our forbears also were not fools. Many holy, pious people have done these works and preached of them, should you first come to destroy all? This must not be! Then the raging and storming time begins, with persecution and death, and the devil will claim he is right, let it go as it may.

38. This is enough on to-day’s Gospel for the present. Hark well, that you learn from the Gospels that all things are to be found in the one person who is called Christ. And remember, too, that a Christian receives his name alone from Christ. I do not say this in vain, for I know what it costs to keep it, in temptation and in the battle of life. Let us call upon God for grace, that we may take this in earnest, and grasp it with our hearts. Amen.

Matins Service - November 7, 2018

 Matins Service - November 7, 2018

Matins Service - November 7, 2018

Good morning and welcome to the Our Savior Muscatine, IA. Enjoy this week’s Wednesday Matins Service. It is an ancient morning prayer service with Holy Scripture. In place of a sermon, we hear from the writings of various church fathers. God bless, Pastor Pautz.

All Saints' Day

 All Saints Day

All Saints Day

Welcome to Our Savior Lutheran Church’ remembrance of All the Saints. The saints live by faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. Let us join the saints in heaven and on earth to thanks to Jesus for all the blessings He gives us. The Lord bless you and keep you. Please excuse a few of the audio, video, and color difficulties this week. We will do our best to fix them before next week. In Christ, Pastor Pautz.

Luther Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22

 Luther Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22

Luther Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.

This sermon is not found in c edition. Erl. 14, 295; W. 11, 2404; St. L. 1802.

Text: Matthew 22:15-22. Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might ensnare him in his talk. And they send to him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Teacher, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, and carest not for any one: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why make ye trial of me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. And when they heard it, they marvelled, and left him, and went away.


1. In this Gospel there is pictured to us, how high reason and human wisdom agree with the divine wisdom, and how shamelessly they attack even when they wish to be the most prudent; as takes place here among the Pharisees who were the best and the most intelligent people among the Jews, as they also prove themselves to be; yet their wisdom must become foolishness. They could not catch Christ in his sermons nor in his works; and yet they would gladly have had found a reason to put him to death.

Therefore they thought to seize him in the most subtle manner, and propounded to him a pointed syllogism, so pointed that human reason could not have devised a more pointed one; and said to him: “Teacher, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, and carest not for any one: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”

2. They imagined thus: now we will lay hold of him: for he must answer either yes or no. Does he say yes, then we have conquered him; does he say no, then he is also caught. In that they say: “Teacher,” they aim to compel him to answer and rightly agree with them; and in that they say,” We know that thou are true,” they admonish him of his office. Where should Christ flee? Every door was closed to him. But he would not escape through the opening they made.

3. Was not this a subtle device? Do they not sufficiently show that they were prudent people? Whichever way their Lord had answered he would have been taken. Yea, did they not act wisely enough in that they brought with them the servants of Herod? and thought, indeed, they would accomplish their end by stratagem, so that he should not escape. They thought thus: Wait, we will now counsel him; does he say no, then the servants of Herod are present and will put him to death as a revolutionist and as one who sets himself against the Roman government. Does he say yes, then he will speak against the independence of the Jewish people, and we will excite the people against him. For the Jews wish to be a free people, and to have their own king, of their own blood, as was promised to them by God through Moses when he wrote in Deuteronomy 17:15: “Thou shalt surely set him king over thee, whom Jehovah thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee who is not thy brother.” And they did not know differently than that the same kingdom should stand until the time of the true king, until the time of Christ; as the patriarch Jacob preached concerning it and said: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come,” Genesis 49:10. And to this end God also chose especially this people and formed a kingdom from them only for the sake of Christ. They had many other sayings to the end that they should not serve any one, they were the head and not the tail, etc., Deuteronomy 28:44. This and other like passages moved the Pharisees and scribes among the people and they boasted of it; as is now beaten into the people that the Church cannot err. Therefore they thought thus: Does he say yes, then he blasphemes against God and is worthy of death as a blasphemer of God, and the people will stone him; for God promised and agreed to give this people liberty and they were in all times God’s people even in the midst of their captivity.

4. However, at that time as at the present, they had no king and therefore there arose among the people at large a great murmur, faction and insurrection. For this people were educated by the law that they should have a king of their own flesh and blood, as I said; therefore they did not cease to set themselves against foreign kings and rulers until they were destroyed and many consequently suffered death. And this happened frequently; for they were a stiff-necked, rude and hardened people; therefore the Romans, who at the time had the rule and authority over them, protected the country well and they had to divide it into four provinces, and in all places they thoroughly took possession by means of princes and tetrarchs; in order that they, thus divided, might not so soon come together and create revolution, so that they could be better kept in subjection where they wished to rebel against the Roman empire. Hence, Pilot was a governor appointed by Rome in the country of the Jews; Herod a tetrach of Galilea, and his brother Philip tetrach in the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrach of Abilene, as Luke relates in 3:1, and all for the purpose to make the Jews subjects of Rome. Hence the Jews became angry, raging and foolish, and especially at the time of Christ when they greatly desired to have their own king.

Consequently the Pharisees now devised this scheme and thought thus:

Wait, the Romans desire to have the authority and rule; if he answers no to our question, then the tetrarch is at hand and will behead him; does he say yes, then the people in a mass will rise up against him and we will accomplish our end. They wish thus, as they think, to find cause to put the Lord to death, or forever suppress his doctrine and work among the people.

5. As the Jews now do here so it is everywhere that the principal things are overlooked and we worry ourselves about other unnecessary matters. Thus the Pharisees here take in hand and concern themselves about whether they are free or not, seeing they had in the law and in the Word of God the promise that they should be subject to none other than to their own king and yet now they are subject to the Roman emperor. They learned in their Scriptures how they should honor God and love their neighbor; they let go of that and concern themselves about other matters. They had the promise if they did according to the Word and commandment of God they should be a free people. About doing this they did not concern themselves and yet they wished to be free and have their own king. We act also in the very same way. We wish to enjoy Christian liberty and imagine if we destroy pictures or are disobedient to the government that we are by virtue of this Christians, and in this way we overlook faith and love.

6. But what does Christ do when the Pharisees so cunningly lay hold of him? He slays them with their own words and catches them by means of their own counsel, by which they thought to catch him, he says neither yes nor no; as the Evangelist writes and says: “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why make ye trial of me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a denarius. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s.”

7. Here you see the master stroke the Lord uses. He asks them to hand him the tribute money and inquires whose image and superscription it bears.

Then they answer him Caesar’s. He then freely concluded that they were subject to Caesar, to whom they were obligated to pay tax and tribute. As if he should say: Have you thus permitted Caesar to come among you, so that he mints your money, and his coin is in circulation and favor among you, then he has triumphed in the game, as if he said: you are to blame that Caesar is your ruler. What should they do now in the face of this answer?

They marveled and went away, they thought they would conquer him in a masterly manner, but their wisdom and shrewdness deceived them.

8. This is written for our consolation, in order that we who believe in Christ should know that we have a wisdom that far surpasses all other wisdom; a strength and righteousness, which are not to be compared with any human strength or righteousness; for against the Holy Spirit no counsel can prevail. We have the power through Christ to trample sin under our feet and to triumph over death, also a wisdom that surpasses the wisdom of the whole world. If Christ live in us by faith then we possess him who establishes this in us; but it is not experienced except in times of temptation and opposition: therefore if I make use of it then he comes and gives me the power vigorously to press through all difficulties to victory.

9. In like manner we should not worry that our doctrine will fail and be put to shame. For let even all the wise and prudent of the world together rise up against the Word of God; they overlook the joke that they opposed it, that it took place for their sake. It may indeed happen that they may howl and bite and snap against it so that the people think the Gospel will fail; but when they set themselves against it and wish to overthrow it, then it is certain that they are weak, and by the same trick they wished to seize and take Christ, they themselves are finally caught. As we see in this Gospel, and here and there in the writings of Paul and especially in the history of St. Stephen we see how they failed to quote the Scriptures aright, yea, that which they did quote is used against them, for the Jews charged Stephen that he spoke against the temple, Acts 6:7, and also against God who told them to build the temple, they brought forth passages of Scripture by which they tried to suppress and conquer him; but Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, showed unto them by one passage of Scripture after another how God did not live in houses made with hands. David wished to build him a house, but he did not desire it. What was the reason? God had lived a long time before David’s day among his people; he must indeed be a poor God who needs a house for his dwelling place. And thus by many histories he proves that God does not dwell in houses made by man. What should the Jews do? They have the passage clearly before their eyes, which they quoted against Stephen, (that he witnessed against themselves).

10. In like manner must all come to shame and be overthrown who rise up against this divine wisdom and the Word of God. Consequently no one should fear even if all the wisdom and power of the world oppose the Gospel, yea, even if they plan to suppress it by the shedding of blood; for the more blood is shed, the more Christians there will be. The blood of Christians, as Tertulian says, is the seed from which Christians grow. Satan must be drowned in the blood of Christians, consequently there is no art that can suppress the Gospel by force. It is with the Gospel as with the palmtree, which has the nature and character that it flourishes at the top, and one may laden it as heavy as he wishes; and especially if it be used as a beam or support it does not weaken under any burden, but rises in spite of the burden. Such is also the nature of the Gospel, the more one opposes it the greater it lays hold of us and the more one burdens it, the more it grows.

11. Therefore we should not be afraid of powers. But we should fear our prosperity and good days which cause us more harm than our anguish and persecution; and we should not be afraid in the face of the wisdom and the shrewdness of the world, for they can do us no harm. Yes, the more the wisdom of the world opposes the truth, the purer and clearer does the truth become, consequently the Gospel can experience nothing better than that the world rise up against it with all its force and wisdom; yea, the more my conscience, sin and satan attack me, the stronger does my righteousness become. For the sins which worry me, pain me; then I persevere harder and harder in prayer and in my cry to God; then faith and righteousness become stronger and stronger. This is what St. Paul means when he says in Corinthians 12:9: my power is made perfect in weakness. Now since we possess such a treasure that becomes stronger by virtue of trial and opposition we should not fear, but be of good courage and rejoice in tribulation; as St. Paul says to the Romans, Romans 5:3: and as the Apostles did who departed from the presence of the council with great rejoicing, and thanked God that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name, Acts 5:41. If satan were only prudent enough to keep quiet and let the Gospel be preached, he would receive less injury from it; for if the Gospel is not attacked it completely rusts and has no occasion or reason to make its power and influence manifest.

12. Thus we are here still secure, no one attacks us; as a result we always continue just as we were, yea, we become worse. In that certain enemies attack us with the Scriptures, they gain very little. In that they have taken up their pen against us, they accomplish no more than if they blew into the fire; but if they had east us into the fire or beat our heads, there would indeed be more Christians for our sake.

13. Consequently we have here a consolation, when we are attacked; that Christ is in us and holds the field of victory through us. Christ is so near us that we triumph at all times through him because we abide in Christ. As long as we do not have opposition taking us by the neck, he does nothing; but when we are attacked and conquered, then he is at hand and puts all our enemies to shame.

14. Here we may also learn the lesson that those who are a little more than other people, brighter, stronger, and endowed with special gifts of reason, nature and fortune, who are more artistic, learned and intelligent than others, who indeed are gifted with speech and are talented to lead other people and are able to rule and arrange everything in the best way, they are the most opposed to God and to faith, and trust more in their own strength and reason than in God. For nature, poisoned as it is, leads them to the point that they cannot and will not use their gifts to the best advantage, for the welfare and edification of their neighbor; for they trust in their gifts, and think they will obtain now this, now that, and never remember that they also need God’s help and strength to that end. As the Pharisees and scribes do here, who are so certain, as they think, if they thus lay hold of Christ, they would take him captive, for it is not possible, they say, for him to escape, we have ensnared him whether he says yes, or no.

15. Behold, how cunning and perverse human nature is! Methinks this is well pictured here. Aye, there is nought in man but evil, lying and deceiving, cunning and all manner of mischief. Indeed, in his very nature man is nothing else than a liar, Psalm 116:11. One may not entrust anything to man. Do not imagine that any one tells you the truth; man lies in whatsoever he speaks. And why? The fountain is evil, that is to say, the heart is not good; therefore also the rivers flowing therefrom cannot be good. Hence does the Lord oftimes call men a generation of vipers and a brood of serpents, Matthew 22:34. Is not that a beautiful title for man?

Just you go and boast of your piety, your strength, or your free will!

Before the world indeed one may be fine and pious, shining with holiness; but at bottom nothing will be found but a generation of vipers and a serpent’s brood, and that most of all in the worthiest, most estimable, intelligent and wise people. If you peruse the history of the Greeks, Jews and Romans, you will find that the best and wisest rulers, who according to the judgment of men, governed well, have not thought of God, but confided in themselves alone; to God’s might they have attributed nothing.

16. From this it follows that the less adroit a person is before the world, the less will he do against God; and those who are ingenious and honored in the world, lie and deceive more than the others, thinking to cover up their deception and malice by deceitful and cunning acts. True it is they may full well conceal it; the Holy Spirit, however, has a keen eye and knows them exceeding well. Therefore Scripture often calls such fellows lions, wolves, bears, swine, and wild beasts, namely, such as rage, eating and devouring everything with their deceit. Hence in the Old Testament the Jews were forbidden to eat some animals, as being unclean — those that are enumerated and others — for no other reason than that it might be thus indicated that there are some people who are strong, mighty, rich, adroit, learned, intelligent and wise, people that must be shunned and fled from as though they were something unclean; such people as mislead and deceive others by their appearance, their power and wisdom. For people will not consider them as such, nor believe that they are men who plan evil things and dare to carry them out. No man whatever, therefore, is to be trusted or believed. Believe no one: he will mislead you wherever he can. Aye, if indeed you trust any one, you will act against God, not trusting in him. For it is written, Jeremiah 17:7: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man; blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord.”

17. Now someone might object: What is to be done? Must we not have intercourse and dealings one with the other; and how otherwise could human life continue? Surely we must buy and sell and market our goods among the people? If no one should believe and trust the other, all human dealings would come to an end! I answer: It is true one must deal with the other, and one needs the other’s help. But that I demand: Whatever you deal about among men, in buying or selling, you are to consider it as something uncertain, which is not to be trusted and believed in. For certain it is, if you trust any man, you are already deceived, for human nature, in itself, cannot but lie and deceive. Everything is uncertain among men, their deeds and words are unstable; that you may well believe.

18. Therefore we are to put all our trust only in the Lord, and say: O Lord, thou art my life, my soul and body, my goods and possessions, and all that is mine. Do thou direct and ordain it all according to thy divine will. In thee do I trust, in thee do I believe. Thou wilt surely not desert me in such a perilous undertaking with such and such a man, whom I do not trust. If thou knowest it to be good for me, then see to it that he be true to me; if thou dost not see that it will help me, then do not let him keep his word. I am content, thy will be done.

19. As soon, however, as you think a purchaser to be an honest man who will keep his word, and of whom you are certain that he will not deceive you; so soon you have fallen away from God, have prayed to a specter and put your trust in a liar. Therefore, in dealing with a man, just think in this wise: If he is true, it is good; if not, why then, in God’s name, let him be; he cannot do otherwise than lie and deceive. I will leave it all to God; he will make all well.

20. Out of such false and wicked confidence placed in man there has crept into Christianity the abuse of the worship of saints. By this the Christian church, that is, the true assembly of the faithful, have suffered notable decline and damage. What else has saints’ worship been but solely a devilish thing? For thus have people reasoned: Such and such a man has been holy; such things has he said and done; therefore we will follow after him, and teach and do likewise. St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and Gregory have done this; therefore it is right, and I will believe it. St. Francis, Benedict, Dominicus, and St. Bernard have lived thus, have done such and such a thing; therefore will I also live thus, and do as they have done.

Furthermore, St. Augustine has been saved by such a rule. Alas, what a poor, unstable, miserable thing this is, nought but lies and dreams of man. I should damn St. Augustine and his rule, had he laid it down for the purpose of being saved thereby. So blind and foolish is our reason, that it will accept even a specter and a fiction, whereas only God’s Word is to be accepted in matters of salvation. If, for example, Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas and Hanes preached the Gospel, I should have to accept it. And, on the other hand, if those who are considered saints arose and preached lies, about regulations, hoods and gowns, tonsures, ceremonies and other inventions of man, I ought not to accept them. For in such cases not the persons are to be considered, but that which they preach.

21. Now someone might say: See here, would you be wiser than all church fathers and saints, than all bishops and rulers of the whole world? Far be it from me. I do not claim to be wiser than they. But this is true: It is impossible for that which is wise, prudent, great, handsome, mighty and powerful before the world to agree with the Word of God. For thus it is ordained by God, that such people must always persecute the Gospel; if they were not such the Gospel would not shine and triumph as it does. The Roman emperors Hadrian, Trojan and Diocletian were the wisest of rulers, and reigned so well that all the world praised their government. Yet they persecuted the Gospel and could not tolerate the truth. Likewise do we read of Jewish kings, Ahaz and others, who governed well, that they despised God’s Word and acted contrary to God’s will. In our times there have never been emperors, princes, or other people to compare with those.

But then it had to come to pass that God put all wisdom of this world to shame through the foolishness of preaching, 1 Corinthians 1:21.

22. All this is shown to us in this Gospel, which, though apparently simple and ordinary, is exceedingly rich and comprises many things. How then does the Lord finally deal with the Pharisees after they had shown him the tribute money, and answered that the image and superscription was Caesar’s? The Evangelist tells us that he answered thus: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesars; and unto God the things that are Gods.”

23. Although they did not deserve it of the Lord, yet he teaches them the right way. And with these words he also confirms the worldly sword or government. They had hoped he would condemn it and speak against it; he does not do it, however, but praises earthly government and commands to render unto it what is due to it. It is therefore his desire that there should be magistrates, princes and masters, whom we are to obey, be they what they may and what they list; neither should we ask whether they possess and exercise government and authority justly or unjustly. We should only pay heed to that power and authority which is good, for it is ordered and instituted by God, Romans 13:1: You are not allowed to upbraid the government, when at times you are oppressed by princes and tyrants, who abuse the power they have from God: some day they will surely have to answer for it. The abuse of a thing does not make it bad, if it was good in itself. A golden chain is good, and it is not made worse by being worn around a whore’s neck; or if someone were to destroy one of my eyes with it, should I therefore blame the chain? Truly nay.

24. Thus one must also bear the authority of the ruler. If he abuses it, I am not therefore to bear him a grudge, nor take revenge of and punish him with my hands. One must obey him solely for God’s sake, for he stands in God’s stead. Let them impose taxes as intolerable as they may: one must obey them and suffer everything patiently, for God’s sake. Whether they do right or not, that will be taken care of in due time. If therefore your possessions, aye, your life and whatsoever you have, be taken from you by those in power, then you are to say: I give it to you willingly, I acknowledge you as my masters, gladly will I be obedient to you. Whether you use the power given to you by God well or ill, that is your affair.

25. But what if they would take the Gospel from us or forbid us to preach it? Then you are to say: The Gospel and Word of God I will not give up to you. This is not within your power, for your rule is a temporal rule, over worldly matters; but the Gospel is a spiritual, heavenly treasure, and therefore your authority does not extend over the Gospel and God’s Word.

We recognize the emporer as a master of temporal affairs, not of God’s Word; this we shall not suffer to be torn from us, for it is the power of God, Romans 1:16, against which not even the gates of hell shall prevail.

26. Therefore, the Lord beautifully summarizes these two things, and in one saying distinguishes them from each other: “Render unto Caesar the things that ,are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” This honor is due to God, that we are to hold him as a true, almighty and wise God, and attribute to him all the good things that can be named. And even if I do not render him this honor, he still keeps it; nothing is added to or subtracted from it. But in me he is true, almighty and wise, if I consider him as such, and believe him to be such as he proclaims himself. To the emperor, however, and to all in power, are due reverence, taxes, revenue and obedience. God will have the heart; body and possessions are the government’s, which is to rule over them in God’s stead. This St. Paul says to the Romans in round and clear words, Romans 13:1-7: “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same: for he is a minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. Hence for this cause ye pay tribute also; for they are ministers of God’s service, attending continually upon this very thing. Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”

27. And for this reason also has government been ordained by God, that it may uphold general peace, which thing alone cannot be paid for by all the money in the world. We just noticed a few things in the uprising of the peasant, what damage, misery and woe are caused by rebellion and the breaking of peace. God grant that things do not go further and that we experience no more. Enough is said on this Gospel. Of temporal government we have written a special booklet. Whoever desires to read it may do so. There he will find more on this subject.