John 15:13 comes to mind when I contemplate the courage that Martin Luther exhibited the day he nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door.  It reads, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Martin’s personal freedom of conscience was directly tied to helping others understand and obtain Biblical freedom of thought, belief and decision.  In so doing, he was putting his own life on the line.

In the near future, when persecution again returns, those who persevere in faith for the Lord and for others, just like Luther, will without doubt be persecuted.  Matthew 10:17, 21-23 reads in part to "be careful of men; for they will deliver you to be scourged…brother will deliver up his own brother to death, and father his son; and children will rise up against their parents and put them to death…and you will be hated by everybody because of My name."

Finally in John 15:14-15, Jesus lays it all on the line when He calls each of us His friends.  To properly recognize Luther, one needs to see the amazing and clear message, that he was willing to pay the ultimate price to defend freedom of conscience!

Eric R. Youngberg, BA International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1988

Texts from George M. Lamsa’s Translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta

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