The Odessa Record -

By Pastor Mark Squire
Zion Emmanuel Lutheran Church 

Pastor's Corner

A Word for All Time

Series: Pastors | Story 4

October 19, 2017

500 years is a long time. 500 years ago, the “New World” really was new, having only been known to Europeans for some 20 years. The printing press was just beginning to reach its widespread impact after being invented in 1440. And the United States of America was still 260 years from declaring itself a sovereign nation. And yet, what happened 500 years ago is still studied, debated and celebrated today. On October 31, 1517, a monk and professor named Martin Luther shared with the world words that changed the course of history.

Normally, we would think an obscure debate – a theological one at that – that happened 500 years ago between monks and theologians would be irrelevant to us today. But nothing could be farther from the truth. The reason so many people remember – and celebrate – October 31, 1517 has nothing to do with Luther, Lutherans or German pride. The reason “Reformation Day” is and remains so important 500 years later has everything to do with God’s Word.

500 years may be a long time, but the point of what Luther wrote – and the point of the entire Reformation – is that God’s Word alone is the basis for what the Christian Church teaches, believes, and lives out. Because God’s Word – not the word of teachers, theologians, princes, kings or popes – is truth and life.

What Luther was teaching, preaching and proclaiming had nothing to do with himself, and everything to do with God’s Word. Because of that, his message endures. His message endures in a world that isn’t all that unlike the world in which Luther himself lived. People still fear, love and trust in things other than God. People still mock God and his Word. They still dishonor their parents, harm others, commit adultery, steal, lie and covet. False teachers still prey on innocent people looking for answers in the midst of broken lives. But, most importantly, people still die. So, what is this Word that is so important and so meaningful to us today? It’s a Word of good news to people who are despairing and dying.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Clothing, national boundaries, technology and “culture” may all be different than they were in sixteenth-century Germany. Dozens of generations have come and gone. People have lived and died. But, over 500 years, one truth remains: We are broken, and we will die; but the Word of God lives forever.

This October, as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, we don’t celebrate Luther, Lutherans, Germans or theses. No, we celebrate what Luther himself, along with all true teachers and preachers in the Church, point to. We honor the Word of God, which has become flesh in Jesus Christ, who died on a cross, but was raised from the dead to live and reign to all eternity. He did this for you – to release you from the despair of your faults, to bring you peace when you are broken and to rescue you from the power of death itself. That Word will never grow old or irrelevant. It will never fail. Instead, it will endure forever.


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