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Peace Restored
Reflections on the Reformers

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John 20:19-31

From the Reformer

The apostles themselves did not know every thing, even after they had received the Holy Ghost; yea, and sometimes they were weak in faith. When all Asia turned from St Paul, and some of his own disciples had departed from him, and many false spirits that were in high esteem set themselves against him, then with sorrow of heart he said: “I was with you in weakness, fear, and in much trembling.” And “We were troubled on every side; without were fightings, and within were fears.” Hereby it is evident that he was fain to comfort him, saying: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my power is strong in weakness.”

This is to me, and to all true Christians, a comfortable doctrine; for I persuade myself also that I have faith, though it is but so so, and might well be better; yet I teach the faith to others, and know, that my teaching is right. Sometimes I commune thus with myself: Thou preachest indeed God’s Word; this office is committed to thee, and thou art called thereunto without thy seeking, which is not fruitless, for many thereby are reformed; but when I consider and behold my own weakness, that I eat, drink, sometimes am merry, yea, also, now and then am overtaken, being off my guard, then I begin to doubt and say: Ah! that we could but only believe.

Therefore, confident professors are troublesome and dangerous people; who, when they have but only looked on the outside of the Bible, or heard a few sermons, presently think they have the Holy Ghost, and understand and know all. But good and godly hearts are of another mind, and pray daily: “Lord, strengthen our faith.”

—Martin Luther, Table Talk, “Of Jesus Christ”

Pulling It Together

“I don’t believe it!” This is a common enough saying but in connection with the Lord’s promises, one is aghast that someone would doubt—especially one of the apostles. Yet Thomas doubted and is famous for it—and so do you. You sometimes think, “How could God continue to forgive a sinner such as me?”—one who accepted his forgiveness and yet, does that which requires it again. And again. You do doubt. Ah; you think there is a difference between Thomas and yourself; he doubted the very presence of the resurrected Master. So do you. You doubt the presence of One who would forgive the likes of you. Yet every time you believe, he is present to forgive. You see clearly enough in that moment to understand that he does indeed forgive, and not just that: he restores his peace in you.

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