Martin Luther believed that the “root sin” is our disobedience to the first commandment. 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’ Does not the second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” flow from the first?
In Martin Luther’s sermon on Matthew 22:34-47, he raises the issue of these commandments being laws. We fulfill the law by doing what it tells us to do, but Luther plainly says, “We are not doing it.” Luther points out that Jesus is telling those who live by the law that it must be spiritually comprehended, because he who does not lay hold of the law with the heart and spirit will not fulfill it. Even though we may perform outer acts, they do not impress God in the least.
Luther’s sermon is not about performance on our part but Christ’s performance of love on our behalf. That is why Jesus questioned the Pharisees.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,“What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
Jesus was confronting them with a truth they would not accept. In their minds Christ was not God’s Son. In so doing He was exposing the hardness of their hearts. For Christ was a matter of the heart not a law. And their hearts were hardened against Him by their preoccupation with fulfilling the law. All the law can do is convict one of their sins. A relationship with Jesus Christ is a matter of faith.
In his sermon on Matthew 22:34-47, Luther reminds us that God gave a command to Abraham to slay his son. Abraham’s willingness to follow God’s command exposed the heart of Abraham. It reckoned Abraham to a faith that opens to the world the power of God’s sacrificing of His own Son, that the heart of God might be revealed to mankind. This exposition from the book of Matthew serves as a background to the meaning of the following verses from the book of Exodus.
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:5-6 Again we turn to the powerful meaning in the Hebrew word קַנָּא qanna (jealous). It reveals the heart of God. The word jealous has negative connotations to us. But if one, by faith, accepts the creation story from Genesis along with the story of the fall of mankind, then it follows that God’s original plans for mankind were lost through mankind’s disobedience. But jealousy, a desire to care, was revealed in God’s sending His only begotten Son into the world that the world through Him might be saved. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
It is what God has promised in His Word that brings us faith and hope. Each morning ,when we wake to whatever circumstances face us, God is there but because of who He is, not because of what we have done.
God does not promise that life will be easy. But He does promise that we should not be afraid to cry. Our lives will be continually changing. God alone knows that change is death. Someone we loved so much is now gone. Life, as we expect it to be will change and betray us. But God, through Christ will always be with us.
The psalmist describes this love of God in very human terms. “Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record?” Psalm 56:8
It's ok to cry.
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