THE WORD IS
I vividly remember an elderly man in one of my congregations. I served as his pastor in the 60-ies during the last years of his life. Although he was over eighty years of age he came to the worship services on a bicycle. A distance of five or ten kilometers was nothing to him. When his physical strength began to fail, I proclaimed the Word of God to him and his wife at their home. They listened intently and accepted the Word in faith. They always greeted me warmly, but it was so cold in their house that after I left I often shivered in my car while waiting for it to warm up. The wife would sleep between sheepskins in the bed and the husband on the floor by the stove, fully dressed in his outdoor winter clothing and wearing felt boots. When one side of his body would get cold, he would turn and face the other way so that the cold side would be nearer to the stove. He would keep changing positions in this way all night and would get up very early to begin his day's work.
When his wife died, his health also failed. He was hospitalized, one of his legs was amputated and he was then sent to a Rest Home. In the Rest Home this eighty?five year old man, who had been the head of his household until now, was content. His heart overflowed with gratitude. He had never had it so good. But he was especially thankful that God had given His only Son to be his Savior and the Savior of all mankind. He could not stop marveling over the fact that God had been willing to sacrifice His only Son. This was his testimony shortly before his death after his other leg had also become gangerous.
It is said that the people of our age do not understand the Bible or sermons. This aged man, who had not even received an elementary school education, read the Bible, read books by Luther, the Lutheran Confessions and listened to the sermons of a pastor, who was a half century younger than he was. He had a good understanding of matters pertaining to faith and made a thorough study of that which needed clarification. The Holy Spirit enlightened him and led him to know Jesus as the Savior of sinners. Through the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions he refuted those who asked him to be "re-baptized" and held fast to his Infant Baptism. When we trust in Jesus Christ the Bible will also open up to us and we will learn to love God's Word.
The Bible is not some kind of incomprehensible jargon, but a clear guide to eternal life. All experience proves that the opinion - that the Bible is incomprehensible to modern educated people and therefore needs to be modernized - is a childish fancy. The real reasons why people do not understand the Gospel are: the lack of a desire to study, a bad conscience and resistance of the Holy Spirit.