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The Strong Man
Scripture and a reading from Luther's sermons and devotional writings

Today's online Scripture jigsaw

From the Word

Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled.

Luke 11:14, RSV

From Luther

The dumb, deaf, blind, and demon-possessed man represents all the children of Adam, who through the flesh are possessed of Satan in original sin, so that they must be his slaves and do according to his will. Hence they are also blind, that is, they do not see God. They are deaf, for they do not hear God’s Word, and are not obedient or submissive to it. They are also dumb, for they do not give him one word of thanks or praise, nor do they preach and proclaim Christ and the grace of God. But they are all too talkative about the teachings of the devil and the opinions of men. In these things they see only too well and are wiser than the children of light in their undertakings, opinions, and desires. In these things they hear with both ears and readily accept the suggestions of flesh and blood. Therefore whatever we do, in word and deed, as to body and soul, is of the devil, whether it be externally good or bad, and must be redeemed through the work of God. When we are in his kingdom, we acknowledge him, see, hear and follow him, praise and proclaim his name. All this takes place through the Spirit of God in his Word, which casts out the devil and his kingdom.

But when the stronger man, the Gospel, comes, peace flees, and he rages like a madman, for he resents being condemned, unmasked, punished and publicly branded. He gathers up his armor, the powerful, wise, rich and holy people, and sets them all to attacking God’s Word, as we see in the persecution of the teachers of the gospel. Such rage and persecution signify that the devil retires very unwillingly and raves in his whole body; as he acts in the body and its members when he must depart, so he also behaves in the whole world, resisting with all his power when he is to give place to the gospel; but it is all in vain, he must be expelled. A stronger one, that is, Christ, comes and overpowers him and takes away his whole armor, that is, he converts some of those same persecutors, and to that extent makes him weaker and his own kingdom stronger. He divides the spoil, too, by using for various offices, graces, and works in Christendom those whom he converts.

Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 84–85.

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