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The Office of Disgrace
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me.

John 8:48–49, RSV

From Luther

“Thou art a Samaritan” sounds worse among the Jews than any crime. In these words Christ teaches us the fate that awaits us Christians and his Word; both our life and doctrine must be condemned and reviled, and that by the foremost, wisest and greatest of earth. Thus one learns to know the corrupt tree by its fruits, as under the pretense of being good, they are so bitter, angry, impatient, cruel and mad as to condemn and pass sentence, when one touches them at their tender spot and rejects their ideas and ways.

Christ here abandons his life to shame and dishonor, is silent and suffers them to call him a Samaritan, while he takes pains to defend his doctrine. For the doctrine is not ours, but God’s. I should stake all I have and suffer all they do, that the honor of God and of his Word may not be injured. For if I perish, no great harm is done; but if I let God’s Word perish, and remain silent, I do harm to God and the whole world. Although I cannot close their mouths, nor prevent their wickedness, nevertheless I shall not keep silent, nor act as if they were right. Although they do me injustice, yet it remains right before God. Christ says, “I have not a devil,” that is, my doctrine is not the devil’s lies; but “I honor my Father,” that is, I preach in my doctrine the grace of God, through which he is to be praised, loved and honored by believers. For the evangelical office of the ministry is nothing but glorifying God.

When Christ says, “Ye dishonor me,” he implies that the Father’s and his honor are the same, as he and the Father are one God. Yet along with this he would also teach that if the office of the ministry, which God honors, is to be duly praised, then it must suffer disgrace. Thus we will do to our princes and priests; when they attack our manner of life, we should suffer it and show love for hatred, good for evil; but when they attack our doctrine, God’s honor is attacked, then love and patience should cease and we should not keep silent. Although the whole world reviles and dishonors us, we are assured that God will honor us, and will punish and judge the world.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 88–89.

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