The Treasure that is Preaching

Lent 3 Sunday
John 4:9-10
“The Samaritan woman said to him: “How is it that you ask me for a drink, since you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman?” (For the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask him, and he would give you living water.””
Look how nicely the Lord deals with her. He does not relent but says: “Dear daughter, it is true that I desire a drink from you. I am tired, as far as my body is concerned. But this is not only about getting drink for the body; I seek something else. I seek Samaritans like you; you should listen to me…For I would prefer to give a drink to you,…If you knew what kind of a gift was on earth now, you would ask me for it, and I would give you a different kind of drink that would taste better than this drink of water.” It depends on recognizing this gift and knowing who the one is who gives it. But the gift is not recognized, and the same is true of him who gives it…Indeed, we who want to be saints do not think of it and do not recognize what kind of treasure it is that is offered to us through the dear gospel. Friend, how many are there among us who consider the gospel to be a real treasure and an eternal jewel and eternal life?…Where silver is mined, you find a hundred thousand people who call it a treasure. There a person can labor day and night to gain a perishable treasure. Would God that we could accustom ourselves and turn our hearts to consider the preacher’s word to be God’s Word, and that there is more than a learned man or a king. For there is no angel or hundred thousand angels, but it is the divine Majesty himself, God, who preaches there, it is just that I do not hear it with the ears or see it with my eyes. What I hear is nothing but my pastor’s and my fellow brother’s or father’s voice, and that a human being is present. But if I could add to this that the voice and word of the father or pastor are, not his, but our Lord God’s word and teaching, then I would do well. For I do not hear a prince, king, or archangel, but him who says that he could give the water of eternal life. If we could believe this we would be most satisfied. But the shortcoming in the whole world, even in us, lies in that we do not recognize this gift or the given. And I myself still are lacking here; I do not have it as deeply and strongly as I would like. For flesh and blood get in the way, as they only see the pastor and brother and only hear the voice of the father; they cannot get themselves to say: “When I hear his word, I hear a clap of thunder and a world filled with lightning.” But we do not do this, and it is a frightening plague of which the flesh and blood are guilty, as they do not consider that the oral word and the preaching office should be such a treasure that is more precious than heaven and earth. Otherwise the people think this way: “If I could hear God speak in person, I would run my feet bloody.”…We would like to hear God speak to us in his Majesty, but I advise you: do not go there…If he spoke in his Majesty, you would see what kind of
running would start–the kind that happened at Mt. Sinai, Exodus 20:18-19. Although only angels spoke there, Galatians 3:19, the mountain still smoked and trembled. But you now have God’s Word in the church, in books, in your home–and it is certainly God’s Word, as if God spoke himself.

St. Louis ed., 7:2141-2143.

This entry was posted in Daily Devotions From the Writings of Martin Luther. Bookmark the permalink.