Who Was Martin Luther? Part 3
This is part three of a series written by Rev. Donavon Riley that orginally appeared on the HIgher Things - Dare To be Lutheran website.
Martin Luther, like most people during the sixteenth century, lived during a time of both earthly and spiritual insecurity. Frequent wars, plagues, peasant revolts, and famine meant people had to struggle to secure daily bread. And, at the same time that they were worried about sustenance, the church taught that sins could be atoned for by praying to the saints, making pilgrimages, worshipping holy relics, and the like.
The world Luther grew up in was an apocalyptic time. Death could overcome a person at any moment. The Grim Reaper, Four Horsemen, and other end times figures were popular in literature, art, and music. Images of fire and brimstone occupied the church's imagination, too. Jesus wasn't pictured as a merciful shepherd or suffering servant, but as a judge seated on a rainbow throne, a two-edged sword coming out one side of his mouth and a lily the other. They symbolized judgment and mercy, death and resurrection. This meant that the primary question on Christian's minds was: "What must I do to avoid the sword and receive the lily?"
- Published: 22 April 2017 22 April 2017
- Last Updated: 23 April 2017 23 April 2017