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More Than A Nice Story

As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

With this Christ entrusts to his disciples the office of proclaiming the gospel, telling of and applying Christ’s suffering and resurrection according to their intended purpose. For if the suffering and resurrection of Christ had remained apart from the office of preaching as mere narrative or history, it would have been an exercise in futility, of no use to anyone. Under the papacy, the suffering and resurrection of Christ were preached to the point of reducing them to the status of a mere story, so that hearing or telling about what Christ did was no different than hearing or telling about what Dieterich of Bern had done or some other historic person, and for no other purpose than to gain knowledge, or pass the time, or because it was interesting. But Christ’s suffering and resurrection ought to be used and applied in the manner for which they were intended.

And the Lord ensures that they will be by his specific proclamation, I send you as my Father has sent me. How did the Father send Christ? This was taught long ago by the holy prophet Isaiah (61:1-2): “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” This is what Christ was entrusted with when he was sent. And now Christ is saying here, As I was sent, so I send you. In other words, What I preached, I entrusted to you to preach. I have completed my ministry; as I have preached, so you now preach also. Just as I was sent to preach to the poor and to comfort the captives, I send you to proclaim the very same word, the gospel which I taught. So this command actually points to the message of the preaching office, commissioning his disciples to perform it as he had previously done.

Martin Luther, second sermon delivered on the first Sunday after Easter, 1534
Eugene F. A. Klug (Editor) Sermons of Martin Luther: The House Postils, volume 2 61

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