Daily Reformation, John 15:8-13
About the Reformer upon his return to Wittenberg from the safety of the Wartburg Castle
Being asked by the Elector to give his reasons for a return, he assigned, in a letter of March 7, from Wittenberg, three reasons: the urgent written request of the church at Wittenberg; the confusion in his flock; and his desire to prevent an imminent outbreak. “My second reason,” he wrote, “is that during my absence Satan has entered my sheepfold, and committed ravages which I can not repair by writing, but only by my personal presence and living word. My conscience would not allow me to delay longer; I was bound to disregard, not only your Highness’s disfavor, but the whole world’s wrath. It is my flock, the flock intrusted to me by God; they are my children in Christ. I could not hesitate a moment. I am bound to suffer death for them, and will cheerfully with God’s grace lay down my life for them, as Christ commands (Jn 10:12).”
Luther rode without fear through the territory of his violent enemy, Duke George of Saxony, who was then urging the Elector to severe measures against him and the Wittenbergers. He informed the Elector that he would pass through Leipzig, as he once went to Worms, though it should rain Duke Georges for nine days in succession, each fiercer than the original in Dresden.
He safely arrived in Wittenberg on Thursday evening, the 6th of March, full of faith and hope, and ready for a fight against his false friends.
—Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church
Pulling It Together
The greater the love of a friend, the more willingness there is to give one’s life for that friend. This love is increased when that friend has made sacrifices for you over the years. It follows that when one truly comprehends the nature of Jesus’ sacrifice, the martyr qualities of the Reformers, as well as modern Christians in China, India, and many other countries, is understandable. When one really grasps that One has given his life for them, it is easier for her to stand up to spiritual tyranny by laying down her rights and comforts and even her life for the sake of the Name.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers