O loving and blessed Jesus, I come before You to meditate with true devotion of heart on Your bitter suffering. Lord, let Your woes, Your patience, inspire my heart with strength to vanquish every temptation and spurn every unworthy desire. This is what my heart would cherish most of all. What pain my soul’s redemption has cost You, O Savior! O Lamb of God slain in innocence! You suffered because of all my sins. Yes, the sins, debt, iniquities, unrighteousness, and wickedness of all people were laid squarely on You and You claimed them as Your very own, so that in the judgment of God You became the greatest sinner of all, yes, sin itself. And as our sins were all on You, so on You also came our punishment, overwhelming You like a flood. During Your public ministry as a teacher, Your lot was contempt, vilification, and blasphemy. But during Your Passion all these things were poured on You with multiplied force. Not satisfied with raising accusations against You and forcing You to stand trial in two courts, the spiritual and the secular, and suffering Yourself to be sentenced to death by both, You were also made to suffer the cruelest physical pains. Your holy body was wounded, scourged, torn, and suffused with blood.
Martin Luther was not only a theologian, but a pastor engaged in the care of souls. In Martin Luther: Preacher of the Cross, author John T. Pless makes use of selected letters to present compelling evidence for the reformer’s application of his evangelical theology to consciences burdened with sin, haunted by death, and afflicted by the devil.
The following excerpt from Martin Luther: Preacher of the Cross is from the chapter “Pastoral Care of the Grieving.” [Read more…] about Martin Luther: Preacher of the Cross