grace under pressure

Mark in the Gospel lesson this morning says that the Spirit “drove” Christ into the wilderness.  Matthew and Luke fill in the details but it is interesting image.  Same word is used later when Jesus casts out demons and drives the money changers from the temple.  Jesus being driven for a direct confrontation with the devil.  He handles them with aplomb and dignity and reliance upon His Father.

Ernest Hemingway once said that “guts” was “grace under pressure”.  Luther might have said something like that as well. For Hemingway it was style.   For Luther  grace was the leading of God though trials and tribulations and the response of those called by the Holy Spirit.  Because of God’s grace, His people could afford to be gracious. He said in a sermon “Thus are those men of God who are led by the His spirit. After they have been taught the discipline of the outward man, they neglect it and look upon it only as a prelude. They are now ready to offer themselves for any real task the Lord may have chosen for them. And when God leads them through sufferings and humiliations they know not wither, they cling to no favorite plan of their own, but still submit all things to the Lord. Thus their work will be without a name at the beginning, because they are not leading, but being led.”[1]

[1] Elmer Carl Kiessling,. The Early Sermons of Luther and Their Relation to the Pre-Reformation Sermon. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 1935. 141