But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . .
But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits,
then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
— 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23 —
“Now if I know this and believe it, my heart or conscience and soul have already passed through death and grave and are in heaven with Christ, dwell there and rejoice over it. And in that way we have the two best parts, much more than half, of the resurrection behind us. And because Christ animates and renews the heart by faith, He will also surely drag the decomposed rascal after Him and clothe him again, so that we can behold Him and live with Him. For that is His Word and work on which we are baptized and live and die. Therefore this will surely not fail us, as little as it failed Him. No matter when or how God ordains that we die, whether in bed or in the fire, in the water, by rope or by sword, the devil, death’s master and butcher, will surely see to killing us and carrying out his trade, so that we will not be able to choose or select a mode of death. But no matter how he executes us, it shall not harm us. He may give us a bitter potion, such as is administered to put people to sleep and make them insensitive, but we will wake up again and come forth on that Day, when the trumpet will sound. That the devil shall not prevent, because even now we are more than halfway out of death in Christ, and he will not be able to hold back this poor belly and bag of maggots either. “(Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15,” in Luther’s Works, 28:110-111)
I found this passage comforting, in view of our current situation. The fear of death is all around us. Remember God’s promise! Right now it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!
For more Martin Luther quotes see these posts: