Four hundred and ninety-five years ago on this day, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg. Thus started the Protestant Reformation and Post Tenebras Lux…After the Darkness, Light.
The 95 Theses were originally written in Latin and was meant to inspire a Biblical debate on the sale of indulgences, but with the help of Gutenberg’s newly invented printing press, they were translated into German and widely distributed throughout all of Europe.
Four years later, Luther found himself at the Diet of Worms standing trial on his assault on the Roman Catholic Church. Here on April 18, 1521 he would make a historic stand for the Word of God and it’s authority.
Yet one day earlier, his courage was not as strong as he stood in front of the papal authority and sure death. He asked for one night to pray over his decision as whether to recant or not.
Here in this time of struggle, he sought a prayer to God for strength and help:
Almighty, eternal God! How dreadful is the world! Behold how its mouth opens to swallow me up, and how small is my faith in You!
O the weakness of the flesh and the power of Satan! If I am to depend upon any strength from this world, all is lost. O my God! Help me against all the wisdom of this world. Do this, I beg You.
The work is not mine, but Yours. I have no business here. I have nothing to contend for with these great men of the world! I would gladly pass my days in happiness and peace. But the cause is Yours, my Lord; and it is righteous and everlasting! Stand by me! O faithful and unchangeable God! I lean not upon man. It would be vain!
You have chosen me for this work. I know it! Therefore, O God, accomplish Your own will! Stand by me in the name of Jesus Christ, who will be my shelter and my shield, yes, my mighty fortress, through the might and strengthening of the Holy Spirit.
I am ready, even to lay down my life for this cause, patient as a little lamb. For the cause is holy. It is Your own. Though this world be filled with devils, and though my body, originally the work and creation of Your hands, go to destruction in this cause — yes, though it be shattered into pieces — Your Word and Your Spirit they are good to me still! It concerns only the body. The soul is Yours. It belongs to You and will also remain with You forever. God help me. Amen.
Luther’s prayer gives us reminder about God’s sovereignty, our weakness, and our continuing need to trust in Christ alone. Only then can we truly be Post Tenebras Lux…After the Darkness, Light.