How can Messianic Jews given thanks for the birth of Martin Luther, when his life, literature and legacy are so filled with anti-Judaism and led to terrible acts of antisemitism?
I have tried to answer this question in my book “Luther and the Jews: Putting Right the Lies” where I look forward to dancing a hora (Jewish circle dance) in Heaven with him. He will have repented of his views and I will have forgiven him.
But today we still bear the legacy of his life and work both negatively and positively. His birthday was celebrated by the burning of synagogues and looting and destruction of Jewish homes and businesses:
Today Yachad BeYeshua has a webinar for its members on the third of its Core Values: Love for the Body of the Messiah. Despite the presence of Christian anti-Judaism, Supersessionism and continuing hostility to Jews and Judaism we are commanded not only to love our enemies and seek reconciliation with them, but to have a right love, respect and commitment to the Body of the Messiah – “the Church”. That is why I give thanks for Martin Luther as well as pray for his wrongs to be put right.
Today there is also much discussion about the Judensau – “Jew Pig” on the wall of his parish church in Wittenberg:
Removal Not Enough!
NOV 9, 2021 — Josef Schuster: Removal is still not a matter of course –
The education department’s conference discusses how to deal with anti-Semitic images and abusive sculptures on and in churches
The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, has called on the churches to distance themselves even more from anti-Jewish sculptures and pictures on their places of worship. “For a long time the public display of insulting, anti-Jewish representations was neither dealt with nor commented critically.”
“A lot has changed about that, even if distancing is still not a matter of course,” he said on Sunday evening in Berlin at the opening of the symposium “Ban on images ?! On dealing with anti-Semitic images and abusive sculptures on and in churches «. The three-day conference is organized by the education department in the Central Council of Jews in cooperation with the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Research Institute for Social Cohesion (FGZ) and the Evangelical Academy in Berlin.
My prayer is that Jewish and Christian leaders in Germany may find a way to express repentance, reconciliation and renewal of relationships by relocating such objects to a place where they no longer desecrate sacred space and tarnish public space – a place where forgiveness can be asked for and given.
What Birthday Presents for Luther today? Repentance and Forgiveness
The fifth petition. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Say:
“O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no man living is justified before thee. Do not count it against us as a sin that we are so unthankful for thine ineffable goodness,
spiritual and physical, or that we stray into sin many times every day, more often than we can know or
recognize, Psalm 19. Do not look upon how good or how wicked we have been but only upon the infinite compassion which thou hast bestowed upon us in Christ, thy dear Son. Grant forgiveness also to
those who have harmed or wronged us, as we forgive them from our hearts. They inflict the greatest injury upon themselves by arousing thy anger in their actions toward us. We are not helped by their ruin;
we would much rather that they be saved with us. Amen.” (Anyone who feels unable to forgive, let him
ask for grace so that he can forgive; but that belongs in a sermon.)
Just as Luther prays, so we ask God to forgive us our sins and to be able to forgive others. In Yeshua our Messiah’s name. Amen
A free copy of my book “Luther and the Jews” if you email me at removejudensau1″at”gmail.com with your postal address!
I particularly like the devotional quality of Luther’s writings – here is something he wrote on prayer –
This in short is the way I use the Lord’s Prayer when I pray it. To this day I suckle at the Lord’s
Prayer like a child, and as an old man eat and drink from it and never get my fill. It is the very best
prayer, even better than the psalter, which is so very dear to me. It is surely evident that a real master
composed and taught it. What a great pity that the prayer of such a master is prattled and chattered so
irreverently all over the world! How many pray the Lord’s Prayer several thousand times in the course
of a year, and if they were to keep on doing so for a thousand years they would not have tasted nor
prayed one iota, one dot, of it! In a word, the Lord’s Prayer is the greatest martyr on earth (as are the
name and word of God). Everybody tortures and abuses it; few take comfort and joy in its proper use.