Today marks the 470th anniversary of the death of the Reformer, Martin Luther (1483-1546). Dr. Stephen Nichols did a brief but informative post on this yesterday under the above title. I give you a snippet of it here today, encouraging you to read the rest at the Ligonier link below.
As we near the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, it is good for us to keep before us God’s great work of reforming His church through men such as Luther. Look for more of such posts in the year to come.
Luther and his enlarged traveling party made a triumphal entry in to Eisleben. The hometown hero was welcomed with cheering crowds and escorted by a cavalcade. He preached that Sunday, January 31.
But the journey had taken its toll. Luther wrote to his beloved Katie of bitter winds and freezing rains, not to mention all those threatening chunks of ice. Luther was severely ill. An out of control fire, right outside of Luther’s room, also threatened his life. His room itself was precarious. Plaster fell from the walls, which loosened a few of the stones from the wall. One stone, reported to be the size of a pillow, came rather close to crashing down upon the head of Luther. These misadventures gave reason for Katie to grow anxious back at home. She fired off a letter full of anxiety and worry. So Luther wrote back that he missed her, adding, “I have a caretaker who is better than you and all the angels; he lies in a manger and nurses at his mother’s breast, yet he sits at the right hand of God, the Almighty Father.”
Luther wrote that letter on February 7. Eleven days later he died. Eisleben, the town of his birth, would also now be known as the town of his death. Luther’s three sons would accompany their father’s body back to Wittenberg, where crowds would gather to pay final respects.
Just before he died, Luther preached what would be his last sermon from his deathbed in Eisleben. The “sermon” consisted of simply quoting two texts, one from the Psalms and one from the Gospels. Luther cited Psalm 68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.” Then he cited John 3:16. Our God is indeed a God of salvation, and that salvation comes through the work of His Son.