The Lofty and the Lowly

The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:18
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The Lofty and the Lowly
St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, "I decided when I was with you not to be clever, like some of the lofty spirits, and did not claim to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Is this the sublime apostle who was so exceptionally enlightened, and yet he knows of nothing more glorious and precious to extol against the false prophets and nothing loftier to preach than the poor, crucified God? What, then, are those haughty spirits doing when they seek after great revelations and think that one must ascend up much higher and soar in spirit? . . . For the devil also delights in beautiful and sublime thoughts. He is able to make a mask in the heart as if he were God and to disguise himself in sheer splendor and majesty, as he did when he appeared to Christ, in Matthew 4:8. In sum, so far as great wisdom, holiness, and majesty are concerned, he is the world's master and god. . .. He is still unable to change his nature; he always seeks to be honored in majesty in the place of God. Therefore, God played a trick on him by descending here into the depths and concealing Himself in the lowliest of forms, as in the lap of the Virgin, and does not want to be found in any other way. The devil cannot follow there, for he is a proud, vainglorious spirit, even though he can simulate the appearance of the greatest humility. Therefore, no one can deceive him any better than by binding himself to the stake to which God nailed [Christ].

From Sermons on the Gospel of John, Chapters 17-20 (Luther's Works 69:67-68)
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