Advent 1 Monday
“Say to the Daughter Zion: “Look, your King comes to you, gentle, and rides on a donkey and on a foal of a beast of burden.”
Let us consider this verse as the chief part of the gospel. For it tells us what we are to think and believe about him, what we are to expect of him, what we are to seek from him, and how we are to use and benefit from him. He says first of all: “Say to the Daughter Zion.” This is said to the preachers. They are thereby commanded to preach a new sermon, namely, nothing but what the following words provide, that is, the true blessed knowledge of Christ. He who preaches something other than this is a wolf and a tempter. And this is one of the verses in which the gospel is promised, ab out which Paul says in Romans 1:3. For the gospel is a sermon concerning Christ, as he is here presented so that we should believe. Now, I have often said that there are two kinds of faith. The first is that you certainly believe that Christ is the kind of man described and preached here and in the entire gospel. Yet you do not believe that he is such a man for you; you doubt whether you have, and will have, such from him, thinking: “Indeed, he is such a man for the others, e.g., for St. Peter, St. Paul, and the good saints; who knows whether he is such a man also for me and whether I should expect such things from him and rely on it like those saints.” Look, this faith is nothing. It also receives nothing and never tastes Christ. It also cannot experience any desire or love from him and toward him. It is a faith about Christ and not to or in Christ. The devils along with all evil men also have such faith. For who does not believe that Christ is a gracious King for the saints? The condemned synagogues of the devil, the universities along with the monasteries and all Catholics, now teach this hopeless and empty faith, saying that this faith is enough to make men Christians. This is actually nothing but denying the Christian faith, turning Christians into Pagans and Muslims, as St. Peter proclaimed, saying: “False teachers will rise up among you who will deny the Lord who purchased them,”͟2 Peter 2:1. He also says: “to the Daughter Zion.” Here he touches upon the other, the genuine faith. For if he command to say the following words about Christ, there must also be
someone to hear, receive, and cling to these words in firm faith. He does not say: “Say about the Daughter Zion,” as if someone else were to believe about her that she has Christ. Instead, you are to say this to her; she is to believe about herself and hold it without any doubt that to her is done what these words declare. This is the faith that alone is called the Christian faith, that is, when you believe without any wavering that Christ is such a man not only for St. Peter and the saints, but also for you, in fact, for you above all others. Your salvation does not depend on whether you believe that Christ is a Christ for the good people, but that he is a Christ for you and is yours. This faith brings it about that Christ pleases you and tastes sweet to your heart. Love and good works follow this faith without coercion. Yet if they do not follow, it is certain that faith is not there. For where faith is, there the Holy Spirit must be to work love and good things in us.