Our devotional reading for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost focuses on the Isaiah reading and comes from Luther’s Works, Volume 17.
Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
God’s Word is all powerful. In this reading, we see the action of the Word in a comparison to rain and snow. Just as the rain and snow accomplish God’s purpose of watering and nourishing the earth, so God’s Word accomplishes its purpose of proclaiming life and salvation through Christ.
10. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and return not thither. Here you hear that He is speaking of ways and thoughts which have to do with the Word. He is not speaking of sublime thoughts. This paragraph is spoken in part for the confutation of the stubborn, in part for the consolation of the weak. For consolation, because the Word seems so weak and foolish that there appears to be no strength in it. How can it be believed that all the power, victory, and triumph of God are in the word of a feeble human mouth? And so He comes to meet this scandal of the weak and the stubborn. For all the enemies say, “Do you really think that everything depends on the Word? We must act, work, and think.” Here the text confounds their thoughts. He does not say, “Our works and our thoughts do this,” but, “My Word.” It is therefore a consolation for the purpose of lifting up the weak, lest they be offended at the lowliness of God, who has every victory in His Word. At the same time He provides an illustration: As they come down. Rain and snow are not useless, but they water the earth, giving seed to the sower. The rain can achieve everything for the earth. “So also My Word accomplishes everything.” The effect is the same. For neither one is understood. Reason says, “The strength belongs not to the rain and snow but to the earth.” But when we experience the absence of rain, we see what the earth produces. So He takes away the glory of the earth and shows that it is not the earth that does it but that it is accomplished by the rain. So our building and promotion of the church is not the result of our works but of the Word of God which we preach. He rails against the Enthusiasts, who despise the Word. Here you see that everything is produced by the Word.
11. It shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it. There He indicates what is opposed to the Word. Since the Word of God seems to destroy everything, it is opposed by the whole world. Therefore He says It shall accomplish that which I purpose, “although it will not do what you want, but it will do what I want, even when you are hostile and resisting.” Mouth must be understood not only of the invisible mouth, but of the visible mouth. For the mouth of Paul, of the apostles and preachers, is called the mouth of God. Therefore He consoles us that although our word is persecuted and resisted, it will nevertheless achieve results, because it is the Word of the mouth of God. Therefore we must pray that the Spirit who speaks may accomplish this in us. Thus you see here how He speaks against the offense that causes us to fear that the Word of God will be without fruit, as seems to be the case.
Devotional reading is from Luther’s Works, Volume 17, pages 257–58 © 1972 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.