The Power of Jesus — Why We Must Read and Say the Catechism Daily

The purpose of the Catechism is therefore to open the way to the reality of God. But this means that, as the epitome of the Scriptures, it is the Word of God addressed to us.

In the Word of God lies power (authority). Power is the term used concerning Jesus in the New Testament when he drives out demons. He possessed power over the spirits. And the same word “power” (or authority) is used with reference to Jesus in the story of the healing of the paralytic (Matt. 9). He sets himself pon the throne of the judge of the universe and utters the word which determines the ultimate destiny of man: “Your sins are forgiven.” Just as men in those days were exposed to Jesus’ power when he spoke, so men are today also. To hear the Word of God means to be exposed to the power of Jesus, means to enter the sphere of God’s power. “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col.1:13).

This makes it clear why Luther stressed what at first may strike us as somewhat strange: the need for making the Catechism – Ten Commandments, Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and other elements – the subject of daily devotion. We must read and say the Catechism daily, as Psalm 1 says of the law: “On his law he meditates day and night.” In the chief parts of the Catechism taken from the Word of Scripture the encounter with the Word of God takes place. A power goes out from the encounter which “gives the devil extreme pain, and strengthens, comforts, and helps us beyond measure.” The encounter with the Word of God gives us entrance into another world where we may dwell as Christians. “If you had no other profit and fruit therefrom, for this reason alone you ought gladly to read, speak, think of, and practice these things, viz., thereby to drive away the devil and evil thoughts.”

It is the concern of the church, which teaches the Catechism, that this should be happening.

Herbert Girgensohn, Teaching Luther’s Catechism, John W. Doberstein, trans. (Philadelhia: Muhlenberg Press, 1959), p. 6.

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