The Weak Christ is to be Feared the Most

Lent 4 Sunday

Isaiah 42:14-15

“I am silent for a time and am quiet and restrain myself; but now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will devastate them and devour them all. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their grass and will turn the streams into islands and dry up the lakes. “

 

Here he describes the works of the Giant he described in the previous verse, namely, that he will completely eradicate all our opponents. Furthermore, the words “I am silent for a time and am quiet,” etc., indicate that no help appears for a while and that it all looks desperate, as if God had allied himself with our enemies against us. But this is the weakness of Christ by which the godless rise up and assault him all the more vigorously, so that he is forced to suppress and destroy their cruel and godless endeavors. He does scream, when the godly people are oppressed, but his voice is like the voice of a woman in labor: He is despised and is considered to be someone who is unable to resist. But Christ is most powerful when people think he is able to do the least; and help is closest when people think it is farthest. Furthermore, this should comfort us and raise us up so that we do not despair when we see that the church is in extreme danger so that it is close to perishing. For this is how it must look, as it is described here, that is as a woman in labor against whom the entire world triumphs. The church is supposed to run the risk of perishing but it nevertheless does not perish. The weak Christ is to be feared the most when he is at his weakest. This is why the godly should have a good confidence in the midst of the greatest weakness and when they are oppressed. But the godless should be afraid even in the midst of triumph and victory. But this assertion rests on the Word of faith; one cannot see it in reality where the opposite is before our eyes. When the prophets speaks of mountains and hills, streams and lakes, he uses figurative language. The “mountains” are all those who excel in the world based on their righteousness and wisdom. But in particular he references thereby the unbelieving synagogue that was blooming in its religion, wisdom, promises, and examples of the fathers. The “grass” can mean the disciples; the trees are the prophets. Or perhaps it is more fitting when the grass signifies the Word of God and the simple Scripture which today’s Jews and the papacy have lost. The “lakes” are the people who succeed in all things, as we see to this day in the Jews and all the other enemies of Christ: Where is Arius today? Where is Manichaeus? Where are the other heretics? It will be just so for all those who desecrate the Word and the sacraments of Christ today.

 

St. Louis ed., 6:515-517.

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