Do you know what the Protestant Reformation is? Do you know why it is important not just for the Church, but all people? I came across the following video a few years ago, but on this special day of the Church year, Reformation Sunday, I cannot think of a more appropriate time to share it with you. Yes, it is rather satirical, but it does a decent job of highlighting key aspects to the Reformation in a humorously engaging way.
Today in church we celebrated Reformation Sunday, a day set aside to remember the life and work of Martin Luther. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses (statements) on a large wooden church door in Wittenberg in the hopes to bring about discussion around some things he saw as opposed to God’s Word. I wonder if Luther knew the incredible impact this moment would have? Those few nails pounded into the door sent shock-waves through the world, propelling Luther through a sequence of events that would forever change how we look at and operate as the Church. God worked mightily through this man of faith to bring about needed and powerful reform in the Church. At the heart of the Reformation was Luther’s desire to give people access to worship and the Word in a way they could understand. He was willing to do whatever it took to bring about life-change in people’s lives where Christ became the center and driving force for their existence.
Luther’s intent behind the nailing of the 95 Theses and reforms raises a great question! It is a question I hope we continue to wrestle with today: “Are we willing to do whatever it takes to share the Gospel of Christ with people in a way they can understand?”
So let’s sing the great Reformation hymns of the day like “A Mighty Fortress” or “Thy Strong Word”. Let’s enjoy a day of meaningful worship and pondering a sermon in English. Let’s grab our Bible and crack it open to read a favorite verse in our mother tongue. Let’s celebrate the God-given grace Jesus bestows on us through a life lived under the cross. It is in this sacrificial place of blood and humility that we are formed and re-formed daily by grace alone, Scripture alone, faith alone, all accomplished by Christ alone (the “solas” of being Lutheran). Yes, today is a day to remember our Christian freedoms, but more importantly, it is a time to thank God for people like Martin Luther who was willing to be the mouthpiece for a movement of God. He was willing to do whatever it took to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a generation of people in a way they could understand it.
Check out the words that had a profound impact on Luther during a personally challenging moment in his life. They are the heartbeat of the Gospel, the thing he hoped and prayed all people, through the Holy Spirit’s power, would grasp and understand in their lifetime. It is a passage describing how the Gospel comes to us through a person, Jesus Christ, on a cross and empty tomb:
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)