#13- The Office of Parent, both Material and Spiritual Support of Children

167 In addition, it would be well to preach to parents on the nature of their office, how they should treat those committed to their authority. Although the duty of superiors is not explicitly stated in the Ten Commandments, it is frequently dealt with in many other passages of Scripture, and God intends it to be included in this commandment in which he speaks of father and mother. 168 God does not want to have knaves or tyrants in this office and responsibility; nor does he assign them this honor (that is, power and authority to govern) merely to receive homage. Parents should consider that they owe obedience to God, and that, above all, they should earnestly and faithfully discharge the duties of their office, not only to provide for the material support of their children, servants, subjects, etc., but especially to bring them up to the praise and honor of God. 169 Therefore do not imagine that the parental office is a matter of your pleasure and whim. It is a strict commandment and injunction of God, who holds you accountable for it.

(Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 388).

#12- Parents Employ Others To Help Teach Their Children

141 In connection with this commandment there is more to be said about the various kinds of obedience due to our superiors, persons whose duty it is to command and to govern. Out of the authority of parents all other authority is derived and developed. Where a father is unable by himself to bring up his child, he calls upon a schoolmaster to teach him; if he is too weak, he enlists the help of his friends and neighbors; if he passes away, he confers and delegates his authority and responsibility to others appointed for the purpose. 142 Likewise he must have domestics (man-servants and maid-servants) under him to manage his household. Thus all who are called masters stand in the place of parents and derive from them their power and authority to govern. In the Scriptures they are all called fathers because in their responsibility they act in the capacity of fathers and ought to have fatherly hearts toward their people. So from ancient times the Romans and other peoples called the masters and mistresses of the household patres et matres familias (that is, house-fathers and house-mothers). Again, their princes and overlords were called patres patriae4 (that is, fathers of the country) to the great shame of us would-be Christians who do not speak of our rulers in the same way, or at least do not treat and honor them as such.” (Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 383).

#11 Luther on Baptism (Isaiah 6:5-6)

Isaiah 6:5 For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. For that reason, he says, “I am lost.” But it turned out for the salvation of the prophet that he was thus thrust down to hell, so that he might be led away and lead others away from that uncleanness of the Law to the purity of Christ, so that He alone might reign.

v.6. Then flew one to me. Here now a resurrection from the dead takes place. We see that sinners who acknowledge their sins are not abandoned. The prophet cries out that he is lost, that he is oppressed with the consciousness of a defiled mouth, and that he has felt sin and death. And on that account he obtained forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, etc.” says 1 John 1:9; and 1 John 2:1 says: “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father”; so also 1 John 5:18. God hates the sin of hardening and its being defended. Let them be cleansed and let them confess their uncleanness, especially that of the mouth. For where lips and doctrine are unclean, there unclean works follow. Therefore the seraph approaches to set the prophet free from his sin. But he uses means. So, then, two things are set forth to the prophet, namely, Word and sign. The Lord often acts this way. The lips are cleansed by fire. This is the sign. The Word is: “Your guilt be taken away.” Here our sacraments are established. Yet these are disdained and shamefully handled by some who say: Nothing external benefits the soul.4 But let them criticize as much as they want. What Isaiah experiences here is not a fairy tale, but as there are fearful and serious voices, so there is also absolution, which then is granted through the addition of the sign to the Word. Now, what that sign could do, this our Baptism can also do” (Luther’s Works, vol. 16, p.72).

#10- Foolish Parents Train Foolish Children

121 Therefore, I repeat, I should be very glad if we were to open our eyes and ears and take this to heart so that we may not again be led astray from the pure Word of God to the lying vanities of the devil. Then all would be well; parents would have more happiness, love, kindness, and harmony in their houses, and children would win their parents’ hearts completely. 122 On the other hand, when they are obstinate and never do their duty until a rod is laid on their backs, they anger both God and their parents. Thus they deprive themselves of this treasure and joy of conscience and lay up for themselves nothing but misfortune. 123 That is the way things go in the world now, as everyone complains. But young and old are altogether wayward and unruly; they have no sense of modesty or honor; they do nothing until they are driven with blows; and they defame and depreciate one another behind their backs in any way they can. God therefore punishes them so that they sink into all kinds of trouble and misery. 124 Neither can parents, as a rule, do very much; one fool trains another, and as they have lived, so live their children after them.

125 This, I say, should be the first and strongest reason impelling us to keep this commandment. If we had no father and mother, we should wish, on account of the commandments, that God would set up a block or a stone which we might call father and mother. How much more, when he has given us living parents, should we be happy to show them honor and obedience. For we know that it is highly pleasing to the divine Majesty and all the angels, that it vexes all devils, and, besides, that it is the greatest work that we can do, next to the sublime worship of God described in the previous commandments. 126 Even almsgiving and all other works for our neighbor are not equal to this. For God has exalted this estate of parents above all others; indeed, he has appointed it to be his representative on earth. This will and pleasure of God ought to provide us sufficient reason and incentive to do cheerfully and gladly whatever we can.

(Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 382).

#9-The Firmness of the Spiritual Kingdom of the Church

4. Listen to Me, My people. He prescribes the method and form whereby the church will be made fruitful, namely, through the law and judgment of God, which cannot, however, be understood by means of the law of Moses, which the Jews possess. Nevertheless, God will cause a law to go forth from Him, that is, the sending forth of the Gospel after the old law has been abolished.

And My justice for a light to the peoples, that is, a new light, a new law, the abolition of the old law and the succession of the new, which is implanted not by human weapons and resources but by faith and righteousness. Salvation, victory, and triumph in faith will follow this spiritual kingdom, to which Moses with his ceremonies will give way.

5. The coastlands wait for Me. This is the promise of the coming Paradise proceeding out of the old broken and forsaken church. Look at heaven and earth, which appear to be eternal. Yet if either one should fail, God’s salvation will remain, and the heaven will perish, however firm it may be. Thus the gospel says (Matt. 24:35): “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

6. Lift up your eyes to the heavens. This requires an immeasurable faith, since there is nothing feebler than voice or sound, and yet it must become so great that heaven and earth must be held as nothing. Therefore this righteousness is so fixed and eternal that even heaven and earth will more quickly be dispersed like smoke. The Word of God will continue in its effect when princes and tyrants will be completely blotted out. This requires a faith that must not be despised and that is not feeble” (Luther’s Works, vol. 17, p.198).

#8- The Joy of Godly Children Keeping the 4th Commandment

You should rejoice heartily and thank God that he has chosen and fitted you to perform a task so precious and pleasing to him. {The task of honoring parents} Even though it seems very trivial and contemptible, make sure that you regard it as great and precious, not on account of your worthiness but because it has its place within that jewel and holy treasure, the Word and commandment of God. 118 O how great a price all the Carthusian monks and nuns would pay if in the exercise of their religion they could bring before God a single work done in accordance with his commandment and could say with a joyful heart in his presence, Now I know that this work is well pleasing to Thee! What will become of these poor wretched people when, standing before God and the whole world, they shall blush with shame before a little child that has lived according to this commandment and confess that with the merits of their whole lives they are not worthy to offer him a cup of water? 119 It serves them right for their devilish perversity in trampling God’s commandment under foot that they must torture themselves in vain with their self-devised works and meanwhile have only scorn and trouble for their reward.

120 Should not the heart leap and melt with joy when it can go to work and do what is commanded, saying, “Lo, this is better than the holiness of all the Carthusians, even though they kill themselves with fasting and pray on their knees without ceasing”? Hence you have a sure text and a divine testimony that God has commanded this; concerning the other things he has commanded not a word. This is the plight and the miserable blindness of the world that no one believes this; so thoroughly has the devil bewitched us with the false holiness and glamor of our own works. (Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 381).

#7-Christ is the Servant In His Kingdom

Isaiah 9:6. For to us a Child is born. Here you see the prophet speaking about the kingdom of peace, because he boasts about a Child born and a Son given, who will be the Head and King of this kingdom. And therefore it will be a kingdom of peace, not of strife. All these words are strong and intense. Above he spoke of the greatest affliction, of darkness and the shadow of death. Likewise of the Law, of sin, and of death, the most oppressive tyrants. Against them he now places the King born and given to us, who is to set us free from them and implant us into His peaceful and happy reign. He now proceeds to explain what kind of reign that is.

And the government was made. Verbs of the past tense are to be interpreted in the present tense. Instead of “was made” we shall have “is.” Some explain this as meaning that Christ has conquered the world through the cross. Others set this passage over against those above by way of antithesis: On this Child no yoke and rod will be imposed, because He is without sin, but government and freedom will be His.5 We explain it in this way: The government of Christ are we, whom He carries on His shoulders. Other kings are carried like rods by their subjects. All kingdoms of the world are carried and are burdens on our neck, and they reduce bodies and possessions to slavery. Therefore in the manner of ruling in the kingdom of the world and in that of Christ there is a difference. In the kingdom of the world the prince or king alone is free, all others are servants. But in Christ’s kingdom Christ alone is a servant, and we are free. Moses says in Deut. 32:11: “Like an eagle, etc.,” and it bore them “on its pinions.” So to the present day it is with Christ, once for all, however, in His cross and death. He commanded His ministers and all His members to bear one another. He Himself is the Cornerstone and the Foundation. Thus in the kingdom of Christ those who serve rule, and those who rule serve” (Luther’s Works, vol. 16, p.99).

#6-The Light of the Gospel

Isaiah 9:2. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

Matthew (4:16) cites this text with reference to Christs specific sojourn in Capernaum and Galilee not for the purpose of establishing and strengthening faith but only for the purpose of encouragement. The apostles and evangelists are much accustomed to doing this.

People. So then the people of the whole world, Jews as well as Gentiles, were in darkness, that is, in error, unrighteousness, notions, a false understanding of the Law, etc. Light is the Gospel, the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is common for Scriptures to repeat and double the same thing, as is done here, for the purpose of emphasis.

v. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, Thou hast not increased its joy. Here is pictured the fruit and power of this light which is propagated from day to day, not satisfied with the corner where the Jews live but spread abroad among the nations throughout the world, a thing that irks the Jews. In Deut. 32:21 we read: “I will provoke them with a foolish nation.” The Jews, who think that they alone should be God’s people, interpret this passage in a distorted way, as if the Gentiles, however numerous, would not come to enjoy God nor rejoice in Him.3 But this is the true meaning: Many nations are received into the kingdom of God; this makes the Jews sick, by this they are provoked to anger, envy, zeal, and a spirit of stupor (cf. Rom. 11:8). This is what it means to lessen their joy” (Luther’s Works, vol. 16, p.97).

#5-The Sign For Strengthening Those Who Believe

Isaiah 7:14. Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign, …. But since he{Ahaz} now resists the Word of God and refuses a sign, how can his faith be strengthened? Therefore the prophet speaks of a sign to come, against which they will dash, just as the sign of Jonah was given to the Jews (cf. Matt. 12:39), and those who refuse to believe will perish. Nevertheless, it is a sign of lifting up and building up and strengthening for those who believe (Matt. 12:39; 16:4). And this is the summary of this chapter until the end, because he says that this prediction is already in the process of fulfillment in these unbelievers. עַלְמָה, a young woman capable of giving birth, for an old woman can be a virgin too, but she is not called עַלְמָה.

She shalt conceive. In Hebrew it is “has conceived,” and that is the indication of a miracle; it is as if the prophet were already seeing it. Again, since he says that it is God’s sign, it is necessary that that conception and birth be in a different manner than is commonly and naturally the ease, for it would not be a sign if one Who today is a virgin would become pregnant after a half year. Therefore she has to be both a virgin and with child. Matthew 1:21 f. clearly explains this.

Immanuel. This describes what kind of person it will be. This is not a proper name. He is indeed the Son of a virgin, and yet He is “God with us,” therefore God and man.

  1. He shall eat curds and honey. This is a description of His childhood and humanity. As He is said to be born as a true human being, so He will be reared in a true human fashion” (Luther’s Works, vol. 16, p.84).

#4- Christianity To Penetrate Deeply Into the Mind and Fixed in Memory

24 Thus we have, in all, five parts {Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Baptism and Lord’s Supper} covering the whole of Christian doctrine, which we should constantly teach and require young people to recite word for word. Do not assume that they will learn and retain this teaching from sermons alone. 25 When these parts have been well learned, you may assign them also some Psalms and some hymns, based on these subjects, to supplement and confirm their knowledge. Thus our youth will be led into the Scriptures so they make progress daily.

26 However, it is not enough for them simply to learn and repeat these parts verbatim. The young people should also attend preaching, especially at the time designated for the Catechism, so that they may hear it explained and may learn the meaning of every part. Then they will also be able to repeat what they have heard and give a good, correct answer when they are questioned, and thus the preaching will not be without benefit and fruit. 27 The reason we take such care to preach on the Catechism frequently is to impress it upon our youth, not in a lofty and learned manner but briefly and very simply, so that it may penetrate deeply into their minds and remain fixed in their memories. 28 Now we shall take up the above-mentioned parts one by one and in the plainest possible manner say about them as much as is necessary” (Shorter Preface of Large Catechism -Tappert, p. 364-5).