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The Heavy Heart
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 

John 20:24–25, RSV

From Luther

Here we see what a poor thing the human heart is when it becomes faint, that we cannot strengthen and comfort it again. The other disciples and Thomas did not only hear during the time they were with the Lord that he taught the people with great authority, and later saw how he confirmed his doctrine by the great miracles performed on the blind, lame, lepers and dumb, whom he cured; but also that he raised three persons from the dead, one of whom had been in the grave four days. Such weak characters were the disciples of Christ, and especially Thomas, that they could not believe that the Lord arose from the dead and was alive.

We see in the apostles that we are truly nothing when Christ withdraws his hand and we are left to ourselves. The women had announced it, and now the disciples themselves proclaim that they had seen the risen Lord. Yet Thomas is stubborn and will not believe it; he will not be satisfied even if he see him, unless it be that he sees the print of the nails in his hands and puts his fingers into the print of the nails and his hand into his side. The beloved disciple will thus himself be lost and condemned, in that he will not believe. For there can be no forgiveness of sins, nor salvation, if one believes not. And Thomas would have perished and been condemned in his unbelief, had not Christ rescued him from it by this revelation.

Thus the Holy Spirit illustrates in this example that without faith we are simply blind and completely hardened, as we see everywhere in the Holy Scriptures that the human heart is the hardest thing in the world, harder than steel and adamant. On the other hand, if it be bashful, despondent and soft, there is not water, nor oil so soft as the human heart. So soon had the apostles forgotten all the signs and words they had seen and heard from him, that the Lord had enough to do during the forty days after his resurrection in various appearances and revelations, besides eating and drinking with them — all for the purpose that they might be assured that he is risen.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 259–60.

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