Luther on the Words of Jesus, “I will Raise Him up on the Last Day”

You must not judge, however, by external appearance; you must be guided by the Word, which promises and gives you everlasting life. Then you truly have eternal life. Even though your senses tell you otherwise, this does not matter. This does not mean that you have forfeited life; for sickness, death, perils, and sin which assail you will not devour or finish you. They will have to leave you in peace. They do not weaken or kill Christ…
The expression “raise up” is deliberately chosen here. It is of great significance. Otherwise it might offend us to hear Christ say: “Whoever believes in Me shall have, etc.,” and then to discover that death, accompanied by many perils, comes nevertheless. Death is too evident and apparent; and this moves our reason, mind, and senses to fear deception in these words because we see the opposite before our very eyes. Therefore Christ employs these words here to encourage us to be constant, to be strong, and to be of good cheer: “Even though death tramples you underfoot and destroys you, I will still keep you; for I am your life and your true food which preserves you. Thus I will nourish you well, so that you live forever. Therefore do not worry. I will raise you up again, so that all will see and bear witness that you live.”

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 23: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 23 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 131.

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