Commemoration of Martin Luther, Doctor and Confessor
February 18, 2012
The Lord be with you
Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony. He was baptized the next day, November 11, which is St. Martin’s feast day. As was the custom of the day, Martin was named after the saint who was honored on the day of his baptism.
More has been written about Luther than any other human that has ever lived, except our Lord Jesus. For me to do justice to him here is impossible.
As a youth Luther showed remarkable promise and his father, a miner, had high hopes for him to become a successful lawyer. To that end he sent Luther to the best schools he could, and Luther excelled. However, after a near death experience in 1505, he changed his career path and joined an Augustinian friary. He was ordained a priest April 3, 1507. He received his doctorate in theology in October 1512. Shortly thereafter he was assigned to be the professor of biblical studies at the newly formed University of Wittenberg. Luther was a popular professor and was one of the key reasons why Wittenberg was the largest University in Germany when he died.
Luther’s scriptural studies led him to question many of the Roman Church’s teachings and practices, especially the selling of indulgences (remission of the punishment believed Christians had to endure in purgatory before being allowed into heaven). His refusal to back down from his convictions resulted in his excommunication in 1521. Following a period of seclusion at the Wartburg castle, Luther returned to Wittenberg, where he spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching, translating the Scriptures, and writing hymns and numerous theological treaties (and much more).
He is remembered and honored for his lifelong emphasis on the biblical truth that for Christ’s sake God declares us righteous by grace through faith alone. Luther died on February 18, 1546, while visiting the town of his birth.
Prayer: O God, our refuge and our strength, You raised up Your servant Martin Luther to reform and renew Your Church in the light of Your living Word, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Defend and purify the Church in our own day, and grant that we may boldly proclaim Christ’s faithfulness unto death and His vindicating resurrection, which You made known to Your servant Martin through Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
(Anyone who knows much about Luther, knows that I’ve skipped over much that would man anyone a person for the history books. You might wish to read a biography on Luther.)
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert