“Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” Martin Luther
I always found the title Diet at Worms to be somewhat amusing. I mean, who would want to eat a handful of worms anyway. Even Gummy Worms are not at all appetizing for me.
For Martin Luther, the Diet at Worms was not an item on a menu, or a new fad way of losing weight, but rather a legal hearing or trial conducted at the city of Worms, Germany in April, 1521. It was there that Martin would appear before the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V, and church authorities in order to answer their questions about his writings against the church’s doctrines.
Many thought that Luther would either be killed on the journey to Worms, or executed while there. With at least the assurance of safe passage, Luther made the trek by horse and wagon.
He arrived in the city on April 16 and received thunderous applause from the people. Some 2,000 supporters escorted him to his lodgings. However, Luther was not naïve. He said that he would have gone to Worms even if there were as many devils there as there were orange tiles on the rooftops.
The following day the hearing began. The assembly hall was packed. Luther stood before German princes, church leaders and Charles V. On a table before Martin was a collection of his pamphlets and books. He was asked by his interrogator if he would “recant” of his writings and teachings. He asked for 24 hours to think before giving his answer. His request was granted.
That night Luther wrote a prayer. The prayer was a window to the soul of this monk who tried so hard to become righteous before God by his own works, but who God declared righteous on the basis of grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. When the day final dawned, Luther was ready to give his answer.
How would you have answered? If you were on trial for being a Christian and asked to recant your beliefs, how would you respond? How do you respond when friends, family or co-workers ask you to give an answer for the hope which is within you (I Peter 3:15). Martin requested the time to prepare an answer. We too must take the time to prayerfully prepare. Let’s not waste the time God has given us to do so. Soli deo Gloria!