On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. John 7:37
This message of Jesus was eagerly received by the sad hearts of ordinary people, especially the ones who were devout. They honored Christ as a prophet and as the Messiah. But the rest of the people didn’t regard Jesus’ words very highly. That’s why Jesus chose words that would speak to the heart. He chose words that would reach those who needed to hear them. They refresh, comfort, and strengthen the thirsty. Christ phrased his message this way because his Word, unless it’s preached to the thirsty, is usually despised rather than accepted.
Those who are thirsty have a comforting preacher in Christ himself. He shows them where they can quench their thirst – in him, the Lord Christ. But first we must ask, “What kind of thirst is this?” Only then will we understand what Christ means by drinking and how we can quench our thirst. This thirst is not physical thirst that can be satisfied by drinking beer and wine. Rather, it’s a spiritual thirst – a thirst of the soul. It’s the desire of a sad, miserable, frightened, and battered conscience. It’s the desire of a despairing and terrified heart that wants to know w it stands before God. The thirsty are the timid and fainthearted people who feel their sinfulness and the weaknesses of their spirit, soul and body. They study God’s warnings. They fear the Lord God and take note of his law, anger, judgment, death, and other punishments. This fear is true thirst. Naturally, those with fears, temptations, and needs are very thirsty because of their anxiety. Their tongues becomes dry. They become feverish, and their fears dehydrate them. This fear is what creates spiritual thirst.
In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.