Note Cards

No Good

“Nothing that our reason appraises as good or that has a great appearance before the world, even what appears sacred to it, is good.  For would not this woman’s deed appear to the world a precious work when she strode out before the people and praised the mother who had given her only Son to the world for everyone to see and for the world to follow, whom everyone gladly received because He showed everyone mercy and helped them?  Yet Christ crumples it up and throws it away.”

That’s Martin Luther, from his sermon on The Feast of the Conception of Mary, the Mother of God.  The text was from Luke 11.

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him,“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Just before that text is the “seven other spirits more evil than itself” teaching, and just after, the “sign of the prophet Jonah.”

I have nothing profound to say, only that I’m tossing around some ideas for some essays or perhaps a book on the modern quest for respectability, and I thought I’d park those quotations here.


  • Wendy

    I’m sure he was very aware how blessed his mother was. So when the woman yelled out, he may not have thrown her away. He put Believers on the same plane as she. That’s how important it is to follow Him.

  • Eric

    Luther’s overall point, as I understand it, is well taken. In the very narrow sense of Christ’s reaction to this particular woman, though, it is worth comparing this excerpt with a more modern treatment (e.g. Lenski, pp. 643-644).

  • Eric

    On the other hand, see Ylvisaker, pp. 217-218, including the following: “It was merely the result of a temporary exultation on the part of the woman, and not of true faith. She was a true type of the people.”

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