Readings for Reformation Sunday

Revelation 14:6-7; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36

Have you ever been out to eat at a restaurant, and seen two people locked in disagreement because they both insist on picking up the check? That common scenario just illustrates how uncomfortable it can make us to have someone else pay our way, cover our debt. It can even offend our pride; we don’t always like the feeling of being dependent on another person’s kindness.

And yet, in spiritual terms, that is exactly what you and I are – dependents on the kindness of God. Reformation Sunday is a time to celebrate the pure Gospel truth which so animated Martin Luther and the other reformers of the Church: salvation as God’s gift, offered freely to us through the completed work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus warned the Pharisees to shake off their stubborn blindness and recognize the shackles of sin that bound them. But “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn 8) The apostle Paul says that every human being is in the same spiritual boat, separated from God by sin. But also that “all are justified by God’s grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rm 3) In the angelic messenger of John’s revelation, many have seen a prophecy about Luther and his Gospel preaching. (Rv 14)