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MLLATE - Powerful Preaching A sample of how Luther could...

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Powerful Preaching A sample of how Luther could bring Bible characters to life Martin Luther preached an estimated 4,000 sermons (some 2,300 have survived). He also lectured and wrote commentaries on numerous books of the Bible. As historian Roland Bainton put it, “He was always teaching, whether in the classroom or the pulpit; and he was always preaching, whether in the pulpit or the classrooms.” Here, in Bainton’s translation, is Luther’s exposition of Genesis 22—the ultimate test of Abraham’s faith . “I A M A FRAID E VERY T IME I have to preach,” Luther confessed. Though he preached often—once he gave 195 sermons in just 145 days—for him, preaching never ceased to be an awesome endeavor before a holy God. One scholar has called Luther’s preaching “the best and principal work of his variously busy life.” Abraham was told by God that he must sacrifice the son of his old age by a miracle, the seed through whom he was to become the father of kings and of a great nation. Abraham turned pale. Not only would he lose his son, but God appeared to be a liar. He had said, “In Isaac shall be thy seed,” but now he said, “Kill Isaac.” Who would not hate a God so cruel and contradictory? How Abraham longed to talk it over with someone! Could he not tell Sarah? But he well knew that if he mentioned it to anyone, he would be dissuaded and prevented from carrying out the behest. The spot designated for the sacrifice, Mount Moriah, was some distance away; “and Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt-offering.” Abraham did not leave the saddling of the ass to others. He himself laid on the beast the wood for the burnt offering. He was thinking all the time that these logs would consume his son, his hope of seed. With these very sticks that he was picking up the boy would be burned. In such a terrible case should he not take time to think it over? Could he not tell Sarah? With what inner tears he suffered! He girt the ass and was so absorbed he scarcely knew what he was doing. He took two servants and Isaac his son. In that moment everything died in him; Sarah, his family, his home, Isaac. This is what it is to sit in sackcloth and ashes. If he had known that this was only a trial, he would not have been tried. Such is the nature of our trials that while they last we cannot see to the end. “Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” What a battle he had endured in those three days! There Abraham left the servants and the ass, and he laid the wood upon Isaac and himself took the torch and sacrificial knife. All the time he was thinking, “Isaac, if you knew, if your mother knew, that you are to be sacrificed.” “And they went both of them together.” The whole world does not know what here took place. They two walked together. Who? The father and the dearest son—the one not knowing
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