As much as I struggle with whether or not I resonate more with Lutheran or Reformed theology, there is at least one area where I identify with Lutherans wholeheartedly and unashamedly…a clearly Christ and cross-centered approach to everything. Reformed folks are great at pondering the invisible, hidden, sovereign majesty of God, which certainly leads us to worship, but the Lutheran focus on the suffering Christ at the cross never fails to stir my heart, especially in times of adversity, hopelessness, or despair.
One such Luther theologian is Johannes Quenstedt, who is buried in an unknown location on the grounds of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. I read a brief comment by Quenstedt recently, as he wrote on 1 John 3.16 (“This is how we know love: that Christ laid down His life for us.”) Hear his thoroughly Christocentric understanding of God’s love and drink it in deeply, for this is pure truth.
This is the love of God; rather than banish men eternally from heaven He removed Himself from heaven, clothed Himself with flesh, became the Creature of a creature, enclosed Himself in the womb of the virgin, was wrapped in rags, laid in hay and housed in a barn. Nor does His love stop here; but after a life spent in poverty and adversities this love drives Christ to the ground on Olivet, binds Him in chains, delivers Him to jailers, cuts Him with the lash, crowns Him with thorns, fastens Him with nails to the Cross, and gives Him to drink the cup of bitterness. And finally this love compels Him to dies, to die for adversaries and enemies (Rom. 5:6). Continuously and in these sundry ways Christ, who thirsts so greatly for our salvation, declares His love and mercy toward the human race.
Praise be to our great Savior Jesus Christ and his amazing love for us! Amen.