Why Does Christ Burst Through Suffering?

Pentecost 27 Wednesday

“Yet Jesus said: Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do.”

Let us, then, open our hearts and behold our Priest Christ in his proper array. Your eyes will not see any finery in him, for you see well how shamefully, miserably, and abjectly he hangs there. Yet look into his heart, and there you will see such finery and treasure for which you will never be able to thank him enough. For, first, he is adorned with the great, wholehearted obedience toward his Father that he allows himself to be spat at, beaten, and tortured in his Father’s honor. It is impossible for us to see such finery in this life; yet we can see at least that all pearls, all velvet, and all gold are nothing by comparison. The other piece of finery is the great love toward us, that the Lord cares so little about his
life and suffering and does not even think about it because our cause and need is such a great concern for him that he prays for us rather than for himself. Who can sufficiently understand or comprehend such love that the Lord has such a heart toward us, so full of fire, that in the midst of his greatest suffering, torture, and shame he acts as if he did not see or feel anything, while he does think, see, and provide only for your and my misery, distress, and heartache? This certainly
can be a great, earnest love: He commends himself to us to the point of completely forgetting his own danger, injury, and suffering. This is like when father and mother run through fire to rescue their children. There, love is so great that the heart does not consider its own danger, but only thinks about how to help the child. In the same way, as we see, burns our dear Lord Christ’s heart that he bursts through suffering, as through fire, and snatches us in all love and mercy. This now is the true finery in which our high and eternal Priest is adorned. You do not see this finery outwardly; but inwardly you see it, as his words testify sufficiently. Therefore, let us in all aspects of Christ’s suffering look to the chief article, grasp it firmly, and not allow it to be taken from us: Christ sacrificed himself for us and is wholeheartedly concerned about nothing more than rescuing us, snatching us, and running after us through all suffering as through fire. We do not only need this article to comfort us, but also to strengthen us against all poison of the devil which the pope pours into the people, seeking to bring them to heaven by their own righteousness, works, and merits. Yet if we had been able to accomplish this by our works, why should Christ, God’s Son, have suffered?

St. Louis ed., 13.1:474-475.

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