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By Faith Alone
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

1 And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If any one says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass.” 

Matthew 21:1–5, RSV

From Luther

“Behold.” With this word the evangelist at once rouses us from sleep and unbelief as though he had something great or remarkable to offer, something we have long wished for and now receive with joy. Such waking up is necessary, because everything that concerns faith is against reason; for example, how can reason comprehend that an individual should be king of Jerusalem who enters in such poverty and humility as to ride upon a borrowed ass? But the nature of faith is that it does not judge nor reason by what it sees, but by what it hears. It depends upon the Word alone and not on vision or sight. Christ is received as King only by the followers of the word of the prophet, by the believers in Christ. These are the true daughters of Zion.

This King is distinguished from all other kings. It is “thy” King who was promised to you, whose own you are. For him you have yearned from the beginning, him the fathers have desired to see, he will deliver you from all that has hitherto burdened, troubled and held you captive. This is a comforting word to a believing heart, for without Christ man is subject to many raging tyrants who are not kings, but murderers, at whose hands he suffers great misery and fear.

But where the heart receives the King in firm faith, it is secure and does not fear sin, death, hell, nor any other evil; for it well knows and in no wise doubts that this King is the Lord of life and death, of sin and grace, of hell and heaven, and that all things are in his hands. Thus he became our King and came down to us that he might deliver us from these tyrants and rule over us himself alone. He who is under this King cannot be harmed either by sin, death, hell, Satan, man nor any other creature. Such boundless gifts are brought by this poor, despised King. All this reason does not understand, nor nature comprehend; it can be comprehended by faith alone.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 424–25.

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