The Word does Everything

The Word does Everything

I simply taught, preached and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philipp and Amsdorf, the Word … did everything.

~Martin Luther

Dear People of God,

The Word did everything. The Word does everything. First in that through it all things were created. And without him not one thing was created. Of course, the Word itself is uncreated. There was a time when you and me were not in existence. He created you, as is said, ex nihilo—out of nothing. But there was never a time when the Word was not. For the Word was “eternally begotten of the Father.” Read John chapter 1 to get a good sense of both how the Word has always been with God and how the Word has always been God.

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This Word, of course, is Jesus. In the fullness of time Jesus, who is the Word, was “born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4). In this way the Word came down to earth from heaven—taking on the flesh of a human being. Truly, he is the God who is also one of us. Jesus would suffer, die, rise again on the third day, and eventually ascend back into heaven.

Though he is in heaven that isn’t the end of his physical presence on earth. We know this with certainty in his parting words, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Not only is he with us in a spiritual way, but also, he is present physically so that we are truly never alone. He has prepared a chamber in your heart and there he resides.

And how does he get to your heart? Answer: Through the proclamation of the Word. Jesus again comes down from heaven to earth whenever the Word is taught, preached, or written. Through the Word he kills in order to make alive. He first kills off the old creature that hangs around our neck. If he did not do so we would never come to him, find comfort from him, or think we have need of him.

After this, he makes the new creature in us alive. Why? Because Jesus has come not for the sake of condemnation, but so that he forgives sins. Forgiveness of sins, also known as absolution, is the whole purpose and function of the Church. Apart from this, we have nothing. It is in the forgiveness of sins that God produces faith in Christ in us and makes us believers.

It is in this Word, the forgiveness of sins proclaimed, that God is nearer to you than you are to yourself. This is one comfort that the COVID-19 pandemic cannot ruin or take away. For even as we gather digitally to preserve the lives of the most vulnerable among us, this Word has continued to live and breathe in our presence. What we are going through right now is comparable to those imprisoned for their faith. Right now, we are prevented from gathering as we would wish and certainly, we hope someday to be able to again.

But like those who are imprisoned and separated from their siblings in Christ, we still have the Word! And what does that Word say to us? It says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). That is more important right now than ever! Be enheartened. Be encouraged. Drink your beer. Be merry. The Word does everything. The pandemic will one day perish. You will never perish.

Peace and joy,
Pastor Levi Powers
Mount of Olives Lutheran Church
Rock Springs, WY