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Luther Quote

by pastorjuhl ~ April 22nd, 2008

Everyone who loves the Christian church and the gospel, and is concerned about their well-being, ought to remember that he must help sustain them.  We can do this best of all through prayer, praying that the name of our God in heaven be hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be done; on the other hand, that the name of the devil be reviled, his kingdom overthrown, and his will and designs repulsed.  When you do this, then you and every Christian are like warriors on the field of battle with weapons drawn, helping to guard and protect the Christian church against the devil and the world.  For every Christian is a soldier who is engaged in battle with the devil.  As firmly as other pastors and I do battle through our preaching and teaching, so firmly ought you contend with us by prayer.  This is how we must contend and fight at every turn; for we Christians are mighty warriors, some of us preaching and earnestly praying, pierce the devil’s heart.  If he is to be defeated and overthrown, it must be done by these two weapons.  For the one who rules in heaven does not lie.  (House Postils, Vol. 2, 110)

3 Responses to Luther Quote

  1. ToddPeperkorn

    That is really a great quotation from Luther. It is so easy to belittle prayer as useless. May it never be so!

  2. Ed Steeh

    I could not see how to post to the list so I’m pasting in a long citation from an essay by Gail O’Day concerning narrative time in the Farewell Discourse.

    The concluding words shed some interesting light on Jesus’ words regarding prayer to His disciples who will soon undergo persecution/suffering/martyrdom.

    Gail R. O’Day Candler School ofTheolegy

    Recent literary critical studies of John have identified and analyzed the temporal figures used in the Fourth Gospel narrative. The fluidity with which the fourth evangelist uses time in chapters 13-17 suggests the need to move beyond taxonomic study of temporal order to a study of the literary and theological functions of time in the farewell discourse. Through its use of narrative time, the farewell discourse demonstrates what is the overriding theological reality for the community of believers: God and Jesus are not limited by conventional constructions of past, present, and future.
    The farewell discourse (John 13-17) is a rich text to investigate from the perspective of narrative time. Throughout the discourse, the temporal focus seems to shift constantly. At times Jesus speaks as if the crucifixion/resurrection/ascension were a past event (e.g., 16:33; 17:11), at times he speaks as if his departure from the world is imminent (e.g., 13:33; 14:3), and at still other times he speaks as if he were in the process of departing at that very moment (e.g., 13:31; 16:15, 28; 17:1s).1 The narrative function of time and temporal sequence thus is a pivotal concern for the farewell discourse.

    …… I skip now to O’Day’s concluding words:

    The farewell discourse thus demonstrates through its narrative form what is the overriding theological reality for the community of believers: God and Jesus are not limited by temporal categories. The presence and interaction of God and Jesus are not restricted by conventional notions of past, present, and future, nor is the community’s access to that presence bound by time. The farewell discourse glides between present and future in order to show that a new age has begun. The Paraclete, promised by the voice of the risen Jesus, is the guarantor of this new temporal reality.
    If the promises of the farewell discourse are the promises of the risen Jesus, grounded in his victory over the world (16:33), sustained by the gift of the Spirit (e.g., 14:26; 16:12-15), why does the fourth evangelist place them where he does in the gospel narrative? Why does the voice of the risen Jesus speak out of time and place? By placing the promises and words of assurance before the Passion narrative, not after, the fourth evangelist emphasizes that these words are part of present reality for the disciples rather than part of some distant future. The risen Jesus speaks to the disciples before they suffer—suffer his death, suffer persecution. The words of promise and assurance are available in advance of the moment of crisis. In this way, not only is the disciples’ present changed, but their future is also transformed. The voice of the risen Jesus offers them new categories with which to meet their future, categories that promise that the victory over the world is already available, at any given moment.
    What is true for the disciples as characters in the story is also true for any and all subsequent readers of the gospel narrative. Before the readers meet their suffering—be that persecution, martyrdom,11 or whatever struggles the life of faith holds—they, too, have the advance assurance and guaranteed presence of the risen Jesus. They, too, can be confident that the victory over the world has already been won.

    O’Day: “I Have Overcome the World” (John 16:33) 165

    The same comfort and hope that is extended to the disciples within the narrative world is thus extended to the readers of the gospel narrative: the disciples hear the voice of the risen Jesus, the readers hear the voice of the risen Jesus. One of the central purposes of the Fourth Gospel is to assure its readers in all future generations that they can have the same experience of Jesus as the characters in the narrative, that their experience of Jesus is not diminished because they are not first generation believers (20:29). The fluidity of movement between present and future in the farewell discourse and the presence of the strong voice of the risen Jesus combine to give the reader of chaps. 13-17 in any generation full access to the presence of Jesus.

  3. Ed Steeh

    I failed to indentify the source of the long O’Day quotation. I found this document through an ATLA search of John 16:23-28 at the CTS Library web site. This can be a good source of exegetical/systematic resources otherwise unavailable.

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