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Terror-Stricken

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

Surely he has taken on our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Isa. 53 : 4.

Some reflect upon the sufferings of Christ in such way as to
become angry at the Jews, sing and lament about poor Judas,
and are then satisfied. Such is not a meditation on the sufferings
of Christ, but on the wickedness of Judas and the Jews.
Others have pointed out the different fruits springing from a
consideration of Christ's passion. The saying is ascribed to
Albertus, that to think once, and that only superficially, of the
sufferings of Christ is better than to fast a whole year or to pray
the Psalms every day. Some people thus blindly follow him
and act contrary to the true fruits of Christ's passion; for they
seek therein their own selfish interests. A third class so sympathize
with Christ as to weep and lament for him because he
was so innocent, like the women who followed Christ from
Jerusalem, whom he rebuked, telling them they had better weep
for themselves and their children.

They meditate aright on the passion of Christ, who so view
Christ as to become terror-stricken in heart at the sight, and
their conscience at once sinks in despair. This terror-stricken
feeling should spring forth, so that you see the severe wrath
and the unchangeable earnestness of God in regard to sin and
sinners, in that he was unwilling that his only and dearly beloved Son
should set sinners free unless he paid this costly ransom
for them. There must be an earnestness here that is inexpressible
and unbearable, that a person so immeasureably great
goes to meet, and suffers and dies for it. If you reflect that
God's Son, the eternal wisdom of the Father, himself suffers,
you will indeed be terror-stricken ; and the more you reflect, the
deeper will be the impression. You must really believe and
never doubt in the least that you are the one who thus martyred
Christ. For your sins most surely did it. Thus Peter struck
and terrified the Jews, when he said to them all in common,
"Him have ye crucified," so that three thousand were terrorstricken
the same day and trembling cried to the apostles: "O
beloved brethren, what shall we do?" Where man does not
come to this point, the sufferings of Christ have become of no
true benefit to him.

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