A Concluding Word on Easter By Martin Luther

Luther's commentary and sermons on the Gospel of John go only as far as chapter 16 so we do not have a commentary from him to compare with Waldenström. He does comment a number of times in his writings on Mary Magdalene. Some of these comments refer to this event in her life. One such comment can be found in Word and Sacrament III. Vol. 37 of Luther's Works, p. 76, "Mary at the grave thought she would take Jesus away by herself, so ardent was the love in her heart." This remark is characteristic of Luther's tenderness and human understanding in personal matters.

Luther preached an Easter sermon, "The Power and Benefit of the Resurrection of Christ," based upon Matthew 28:1-10 (Sermons on the Gospels, Vol. II, pp. 12-20). In this sermon Luther gives an account of the Easter events (pp. 6-8). He does not acknowledge any difficulties reconciling the texts. He is concerned that his listeners realize that "the mere knowledge of these events...is not enough; we must realize their meaning and importance.... The subject is so fertile and inexhaustable, that we could not fully present it though we preached about it every day of the year.

" If we desire to comprehend the benefits of the resurrection of Christ, we must keep in view two distinct pictures. The one is sombre, full of distress, misery, and woes; it is the scene of blood presented to us on Good Friday — Christ crucified between murderers and dying with excruciating pain....

But this picture of sorrow is changed, and in our Creed we join closely together these two articles: 'Christ was crucified, died, was buried and descended into hell and on the third day He rose again from the dead.' Yea, ere three days had gone by, our Lord and Saviour presents to us another picture, beautiful, full of life, lovely and cheerful...." (pp. 8,9) "Of this we have reason to rejoice." (p. 10)