One Little Word

"I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one."
JOHN 17:15
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One Little Word
For the sake of the Word we must endure misfortune and evil in this world from both tyrants and sects, who press in upon us on every side with clenched fist and false doctrine, with cunning and force, in order to take the Word from us. Moreover, we must be surrounded by devils and stand like a lone sheep amid wolves, yes, amid raging, roaring lions (as St. Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8) that have sharpened their teeth for us and intend to tear us to pieces and devour us. Tell me, who is it that holds us here, so that we remain and endure against so many abominable enemies without despairing at every moment and losing both faith and the Word from our hearts? Who has protected us to this hour against our tyrants and all devils, even though they have made so many plans and contrived so much secret treachery against us? . . . I answer: It is surely not any human might or wisdom. But here stands one little Word that accomplishes it. Above us there sits One who remembers this prayer and says, "My Christ once prayed for them. Therefore, they shall be protected and preserved." This is our comfort, our bulwark and defense—that they cannot do to us what they desire, even though they swell to bursting with malice and anger until they wear themselves out persecuting and pursuing us, and God will snatch us out of their teeth and they shall come to ruin.

From Sermons on the Gospel of John, Chapters 17-20 (Luther's Works 69:89)
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