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Excerpts from Luther's 1533 Easter Sermon

by Christopher Esget ~ March 22nd, 2008

[Jesus] did not come for his own sake to earth; for his own sake he did not permit himself to be crucified; he had no need of this for himself, but rather bore our sin and by his death devoured and swallowed up our death. Hell, to which we were destined, he has destroyed, as the prophet Hosea writes (13:14): “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” He is speaking of our death and of hell, which held us captive, stating that he will exterminate the sin which accuses me and he will annihilate death and hell, which would devour and swallow me up….This is the second point of this sermon, that we not only reflect on the great and wonderful events which happened in Christ’s person, but that we know and believe that all this happened for our benefit, as God’s Word promises it to us and through faith it becomes our very own. St. Paul states (1 Cor. 15:57): “But thats be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”One wonders, how many people truly rejoice in their hearts over this victory? It certainly is no lie–all that Chris accomplished through his resurrection–but pure gospel truth, grounded in Holy Scripture, foretold by the prophets, attested by the apostles; but we do not comprehend because we have deaf ears and heavy, lazy hearts. If we would truly recognize what a great treasure it is, our hearts would rejoice and leap for joy. But because we look for joy elsewhere–in money, goods, fame, and pleasures–we’re like the pope and other unbelievers, namely, that when a specific sin surfaces and grabs us, it becomes greater in our eyes than twenty Christs. We are such fools and such shameful people that through our miserable unbelief we vitiate this greatest gift. There must be wonderful preaching and singing, but we don’t want to hear it. [But] we should be confident that through Christ’s resurrection and victory we have the firm assurance that no sin, not even death, may frighten us. 

3 Responses to Excerpts from Luther's 1533 Easter Sermon

  1. Rev. PTM

    Source please?? I want to post this on my blog for Easter but I always get dinged by folks when I don’t provide them sources of quotes, down to and including, line numbers in the Weimar!

    : )

    Just looking for book and page number.

  2. ChristopherEsget

    Sure: It’s in “Sermons of Martin Luther: The House Postils,” edited by Eugene Klug (Baker, 1996); volume 2, pp15f.

  3. Steven G.

    I am amazed at how many times when Luther preaches the Law it isdirected towards our unbelief.

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