I use several different devotional books at different times (besides reading the actual Bible) for my daily devotion. One book that I keep coming back to is By Faith Alone, a daily devotional book taken from the writings of Martin Luther. Each reading is only one small page, but they’re packed with great stuff. Luther definitely knew how to make Scripture come alive and apply it to our lives of faith. I highly recommend the book.
Today’s reading was especially good. Enjoy!
Jesus responded, ‘Stop criticizing me! People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me brings them to me. I will bring these people back to life on the last day.’ John 6:43-44
When Jesus said, “Stop criticizing me,” he wanted to curb human wisdom or reason. We should also clip the wings of human reason when it comes to Christian doctrine. God’s Word isn’t the kind of teaching you can grasp with reason. It doesn’t reach the human heart that way. The more educated and the more sharpened a person’s reasoning ability, the less he understands. Christian teaching doesn’t appeal to reason. That’s why our reason complains about it. I don’t want to take my salvation out of my own hands and throw away all my good works in order to achieve eternal life. I don’t want to place my hands and set my feet on someone outside of myself, someone who was so silly and foolish as to let himself be crucified. How am I supposed to believe that Jesus is my Savior? Reason cannot grasp this. We must take every thought captive so that it’s obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Jesus is saying, “Stop complaining that I claim to be the bread of heaven. You want to understand this on your own. You want to be smarter than I am when you ask, ‘Don’t we know his mother and father?’ But when I tell you how the Father has drawn you to me, it can’t be understood by your reason. When you hear about how the Father draws you, reason draws you in a different direction. Whoever wants to understand these words must close his eyes, shut the gates of reason, and let himself become like a blind person.” This is what God wants. Whoever refuses to be led by God, but wants instead to be lead by reason, will be irritated by the message of Jesus and will continually complain about it.
By Faith Alone, Martin Luther, reading for September 10th