Text: Matthew 12:1-14
For patience in times of trial
That God would grant mercy and peace
For those who produce our food
By mid-June of 1521, Luther was firmly settled in at the Wartburg Castle, the medieval fortress where his patron Fredrick the Wise had hidden him after the events of the Diet of Worms. Luther was now a declared heretic, an outlaw, beyond the bounds of law and civilization. Anyone could capture (kill) him on sight with the Imperial Crown’s blessing. His books were banned, and any caught possessing them were also subject to punishment.
So there, hemmed in on an island above the clouds, Luther began to write. From his efforts over the next eleven months came a translation of the New Testament—and in later years the Old—that became the primary source of what we now know as the German language. From Luther’s private anguish came the German people.
In like manner, the man with the withered hand has an encounter where his private anguish is a chance to see the dawning Kingdom of God, and be touched by that kingdom in the very person of Jesus. One of the hardest parts of our current cultural moment is that we can no longer see how the suffering we endure can have any meaning, much less be redeemed. We are in pain, we grieve, but there is in our modern understanding no way to find redemption or possibility out of it. So we are tempted to despair, to lose hope. And people without hope cannot long endure.
Yet the Lord Jesus comes to us, indifferent to our cultural constraints, calling to account how we condemn and make outlaw of one another on the basis of made-up rules. He is our Redeemer, and in him we hope. No matter how we may be hemmed in, we can work, for nothing done in our Lord’s name is ever wasted.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks
-Photo courtesy of D.H. Brooks-