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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 24

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Matthew 4:8–10

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 24

Accordingly, that Christ in his passion is crowned with thorns and led forth to be ridiculed in royal purple signified that in the future, after his spiritual kingdom was despised, that is, after the Gospel was suppressed, another kingdom of a worldly kind would be set up with the pretext of ecclesiastical power. Therefore the Constitution of Boniface VIII and the chapter Omnes, Distinction 22, and similar opinions which contend that the pope is ruler over the kingdoms of the world by divine right, are false and godless. This view has brought horrible darkness into the church, and afterward, great uproar in Europe. For the ministry of the Gospel was neglected. Knowledge of faith and the spiritual kingdom vanished. Christian righteousness was assumed to be that external government which the pope had established.

Pulling It Together: Christ has given a greater power to his church than crowns, robes, and scepters. He has conferred spiritual not political power. Why would he give his disciples something as fleeting and hopeless as politics and government? Are we able to trust in presidents, kings, and caesars? We cannot trust them any more than we may trust pastors, priests, and popes. One political party gives way to another, and people are disappointed and hopeless. A favorite pastor retires, the new one is just not the same, and going to church becomes a bit of a duty.

All of this ignores the real power bestowed by Christ Jesus. His is a spiritual power of the Word. He did not vanquish the devil with supernatural, physical, or political powers (Matt 4:1–11). He overcame him with what is written. Christ has given this same power to his church. Speak the “it is written” (Matt 4:10) and you speak with power, for you are now speaking the Word of God (Luke 10:16). There is no greater power available to the church.

Prayer: Give me a delight for your Word, Lord. Amen.

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