Humbly Exalted

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The text for this Sunday is Matthew 23:1-12. It is a teaching using the Scribes and Pharisees as negative examples of faithfulness. Jesus teaches the crowds and disciples a great paradox: those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who are humble will be exalted.

On October 30, many congregations will celebrate the Reformation- the time period of the early 1500’s when Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, stood up to the powers of the Pope in Rome and said some changes needed to be made. All protestant churches everywhere have a stake in the heritage that comes out of Luther’s ministry.

Martin Luther was one who in many ways was a witness to the humility and service Jesus calls us into. Luther could have been the rock star of his day. He was a prolific writer. The collection of his works in English runs to 55 volumes. There are many more in the German edition. While his theology gave shape to the Protestant movement, he was modest as to its importance. When printers encouraged Luther to have his writings published, he replied with humility,  “ I’ll never consent to this proposal of yours. I’d rather that all my books would disappear and the Holy Scriptures alone would be read. Otherwise we’ll rely on such writings and let the Bible go. John Brenz wrote such a big commentary on twelve chapters of Luke that it disgusts the reader to look at it. The same is true of my commentary on Galatians. I wonder who encourages this mania for writing! Who wants to buy such stout tomes? And if they’re bought, who’ll read them? And if they're read, who’ll be edified by them?  (Martin Luther’s Works Vol . 54  p 311.)

Martin Luther is remembered today for having an outstanding ministry career in large part because he declined fame and notoriety at every turn. He served with courage as a street fighter theologian in faithfulness to his Lord Jesus Christ. May we each have such a Spirit about us, so that the faith remains pure and fresh focused only on the Risen One, Jesus the Christ!

Still in One Peace,

David J. Jensen

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