Martin Luther on being nothing before God

Psalm 38:21 Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me.

Martin Luther, 1517, lecture on the psalms.

I am alone and despised by all, therefore, O Lord, receive me and do not forsake me.  It is the nature of god that He creates out of nothing; therefore, God cannot make anything out of him who has not yet become nothing.  Men, on the other hand, change one thing into another, which is a futile occupation.

Therefore God receives none but those who are forsaken, restores health to none but those who are sick, gives sight to none but the blind, and life to none but the dead.  He does not give saintliness to any but sinners, nor wisdom to any but fools.  In short: He has mercy on none but the wretched and gives grace to none but those who are in disgrace. Therefore no arrogant saint, or just or wise man can be material for God, neither can he do the work of God, but he remains confined within his own work and makes of himself a fictitious, ostensible, false and deceitful saint, that is, a hypocrite.

From the Gospel Lesson

Mark 9:31-34, “The son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of me, and they will kill him.  And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him…And they came to Capernaum and (he asked them) “What were you were discussing on the way?”  But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.

Prayer of the Day:

O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. One God, now and forever.

Strengthen us by Your Spirit according to Your will, both in life and in death, in the midst of both good and evil things, that our own wills may be crucified daily and sacrificed to Your good and gracious will.  Into Your merciful hands we commend all those we name before you who are need of Your care, praying for them at all times. Thy will be done.

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