Word and Sacrament

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
PSALM 23:4
Word and Sacrament
Here the prophet also touches upon the office of preaching. For through the oral preaching of the Word, which enters the ears and touches the heart by faith, and through the holy Sacraments our Lord God accomplishes all these things in His Christendom, namely, that men are brought to faith, are strengthened in faith, are kept in pure doctrine, and in the end are enabled to withstand all the assaults of the devil and the world. Without these means, Word and Sacrament, we obtain none of these things. For since the beginning of the world God has dealt with all the saints through His Word and, in addition, has given them external signs of grace. This I say so that no one may venture to deal with God without these means or build for himself a special way to heaven, lest he fall and break his neck. . .. Therefore he is speaking here about the office of preaching in the New Testament, which proclaims to the world that "Christ came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15) and that He has gained this salvation for sinners by giving His life for them. Whoever believes this should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). That is the rod and the staff by which the souls obtain rest, comfort, and joy.

From Commentary on Psalm 23 (Luther's Works 12:170-71)
March 25
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