Wednesday, May 15, 2013
31. Here we see clearly the Holy Spirit’s office, that he is bestowed only upon those who are sunk in affliction — and misery. For this is the import of the words when he declares: You must not think that I give you peace such as the world gives. The world considers that peace means the removal of trouble or affliction. For instance, when one is in poverty he esteems it a great affliction, and seeks to be rid of it, fancying that riches means peace.
Likewise, one who feels death near thinks: If I could live, and vanquish death, I would have peace.
32. Such peace, however, Christ does not give. He allows the affliction to remain and to oppress; yet he employs different tactics to bestow peace: he changes the heart, removing it from the affliction, not the affliction from the heart. This is the way it is done: When you are sunk in affliction he so turns your mind from it and gives you such consolation that you imagine you are dwelling in a garden of roses. Thus, in the midst of dying is life; and in the midst of trouble, peace and joy. This is why it is, as St. Paul declares to the Philippians 4:7, a peace which passeth all understanding.
Sermons of Martin Luther, Day of Pentecost, First Sermon. #31. John 14:23ff.