"Save us, Lord; we are perishing."
The Calm after the Storm
Here, in this final moment, there glimmers yet one little spark of faith, which is unaware of itself, because it says, 'We are perishing!" For if it were aware of itself, it would not say, "We are perishing!" But it perceives nothing but destruction, forgetting that it has survived up to this point and is still burning. For it would not have been aware of anything if it were not still alive and burning. But, behold, Christ does not reject this spark, this smoldering wick, this trembling reed [Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20], but He so increases it that it becomes a blaze by which the winds and seas are calmed. This is what He does for all of us who tremble in fear, if only we groan, sigh, and say with nothing more than a single tremor of the heart: "O Jesus Christ, bring help or there is no hope of my salvation!" Soon, relief will be felt, because Christ is moved through this groaning to rebuke the winds and the sea. And thus there is a great calm, that is, joy and peace, followed by praise and thanksgiving.
From Annotations on Matthew (Luther's Works 67:51)
Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 TIMOTHY 4:5
The Sheep of Christ
In spiritual sheepherding, that is, in the kingdom of Christ, one should, therefore, preach to the sheep of Christ . . . not the Law of God, much less the ordinances of men, but the Gospel, which the prophet with metaphorical words calls a rod of comfort and a staff of comfort. For through the Gospel, Christ's sheep obtain strength in their faith, rest in their hearts, and comfort in all kinds of anxieties and perils of death. Those who preach this way conduct the office of a spiritual shepherd properly, feed the sheep of Christ in a green pasture, lead them to the fresh water, restore their souls, keep them from being led astray, and comfort them with Christ's rod and staff. Where men hear such preachers, they should believe for certain that they are hearing Christ Himself. They should also acknowledge such preachers as right shepherds, that is, as servants of Christ and stewards of God (1 Corinthians 4:1), and pay no attention at all to the fact that the world proclaims and damns them as heretics and seducers. Those who preach something else than the Gospel . . . are horrible wolves and murderers that do not spare the flock of Christ, but scatter, torture, and slaughter it not only spiritually but also bodily . . ..
From Commentary on Psalm 23 (Luther's Works 12:171)
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:1
On Godly Behavior
In this Epistle lesson, you see that the apostle writes nothing about faith, but rather about godly behavior in good works toward our own person and toward our neighbor. . .. As a proper apostle and preacher, [Paul] exhorts the [Thessalonians] concerning their calling, that they should consider that they have been baptized and acknowledge that they have received great grace and mercy from the Lord, who has redeemed them, not that they might live wantonly, but rather that they should be dead to sin and live honorably. For this reason he speaks in such a pleasant manner, beseeching and exhorting, not merely [on his own authority] but in the name of the Lord. "Know then," [he says], "what [Christ], who has liberated you from death, should mean to you: He is called the Savior, who has liberated His people from sin to righteousness. Therefore, Christians should not remain in sin but be intent on living in chastity and holiness, with kindness toward their neighbor."
From Sermon for Lent 2 on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7 (Luther's Works 58:20)
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake.
Take up Your Cross
We need to have a definition of what "taking up one's cross" is. "Taking up one's cross" is willingly taking on and bearing the hatred of the devil, the world, the flesh, sin, death, etc., for the sake of the Word and faith. Here there is no need to choose the cross. Just begin with the first part of [this] life and deny yourself, that is, denounce the righteousness of your works and confess the righteousness of faith, and the second part will straightaway be present, that is, the cross, which you are then to accept, just as Christ accepted His own. But since the hypocrites condemn the first part and defend their own righteousness, they not only do not take the cross upon themselves, but they even become the crucifiers and killers of the godly—those who are bearing the cross.
From Annotations on Matthew (Luther's Works 67:293)