Strange Feats

Daily Reformation, Romans 5:6-8

From the Reformer

In Death’s strong grasp the Saviour lay,
For our offences given;
But now the Lord is risen today,
And brings us life from heaven;
Wherefore let us all rejoice
And praise our God with cheerful voice,
And sing loud Hallelujahs. Hallelujah!

No son of man could conquer Death,
Such mischief sin had wrought us,
For innocence dwelt not on earth,
And therefore Death had brought us
Into thraldom from of old,
And ever grew more strong and bold,
His shadow lay athwart us. Hallelujah!

But Jesus Christ, God’s only Son,
Hath come to conquer for us,
Hath put away our sins, and won
Death’s power and title o’er us.
Now ’tis but his form is left,
For of his sting he is bereft
Since Jesus will restore us. Hallelujah!

It was a wondrous war, I trow,
When Life and Death contended;
But Life hath triumphed o’er the foe,
The reign of Death is ended;
Yea, ’tis as the Scripture saith,
That Christ in dying conquered Death,
And from his realm ascended. Hallelujah!

Then let us keep the feast today
That God Himself hath given;
And His pure Word shall do away
The old and evil leaven;
Christ today will meet His own,
And faith will feed on Him alone,
The Living Bread from heaven. Hallelujah!

—Martin Luther, “Christ lag in Todesbanden”

Pulling It Together

He who once laid down his life stands forevermore on high. He did it for you who did not deserve it. He did it for you who might despise it. He did it for you who could not do it for yourself. He willingly gave up his life so you might live eternally. Why? You were impermanent, incapable, ungrateful, and undeserving. So why did he lay down his life for the likes of you? Very simply, because he loves you. Love makes one accomplish strange feats.

So “let us keep the feast” and celebrate the great love of God that Jesus displayed in the courageous and strange feat of dying and rising from the dead. The “pure Word” found in the festival meal promises to forgive sinners, to renew us, and to lead us so that we may delight in God’s will and walk in his ways. Come sinners, feed on Christ in faith!

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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