LÖHE ON 1.JOHN 5:4-5

IX crucifiedEveryone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1. John 5:4-5 NIV)

Dear brothers and sisters, I can not imagine a better context and frame of reference than that created by the main ideas of our reading. Initially we see the threefold witness of the Father concerning his son. The Lord bows himself low towards this poor old earth and also to the lost sheep of humanity. They on their part answer this fatherly testimonial with a hearty confession: “I believe”. It’s like the normal liturgical procedure we practice in the divine service. There the godly witness is read from the lectern in Epistle and Gospel, whereupon the congregation answers with the holy Christian creed. It is as if the Father bows low to us his children down below and we hug him around his neck und show our passionate devotion and adoration of him, who has loved us so dearly. Our faith, trust and belief depends entirely on God’s witness and testimony – and through this on God himself – and thus faith transforms the inner person, changes and creates him anew – 2nd birth – so that the person is reborn to the new creation in Jesus Christ.

You are our crowned head, whom our souls trust. Let us behold our election in your wounds and incorporate us through them with you.

That’s a most marvelous thing, which may first seems small to children, but is far too big for mighty men even. It’s praised down here and beyond the crystal waters.

First our friend calls our souls to rest and then to eat and later to be productive. That’s how he trains us to grow in faithful knighthood. Do it hopefully, but never stopping in contemplation of it, but rather moving on in faith.

And should ever we rejoice in our works of mercy, then quickly shame arises too, because there’s not more than to thank and praise that we have a merciful and gracious savior in Jesus Christ + (Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after the first Sunday after Easter: Quasimodogeniti. It is found on Pg. 169 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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