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May 5, 1521: The End of Luther [Rebroadcast]

Luther: In Real Time

Ligonier Ministries

Religion & Spirituality, Christianity, History

4.92K Ratings

🗓️ 31 December 2021

⏱️ 10 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


As Martin Luther makes his escape from Worms, he knows there may be nowhere left for him to go. Suddenly, armed horsemen surround the wagon, and Luther is taken captive. Today, our journey with the German Reformer comes to an end.

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May the 5th, 1521, and Martin Luther is missing. His enemies are delighted at the news


of Luther's vanishing and not entirely surprised. The route from Verms to Luther's home in


Vittenburg is long and winding. It would take only one shot from a dead-eyed assassin lying


in the tall grass, and that would be the end of Luther. The pestiferous monk, the wild boar,


the so-called swan.


News of Luther's disappearance soon reached the influential German artist Albrecht Dura,


who had been deeply moved by Luther's writing.


I know not whether he lives or is murdered, but either way he has truly suffered for Christ.


If we lose this man, this man, who has written more clearly than anyone in centuries,


may God grant his spirit to another. Oh God, if Luther is dead, who will explain to us the gospel?


What might he not have written for us in the next 10 or 20 years?


Luther and Nicholas von Amstorf had left Verms on April the 26th. By May the 4th,


they were nearing Schloss Altenstein, a castle deep in the Thuringian forest,


when they became aware that an eerie stillness had settled over the dark woods.


Luther's car driver peers left and right into the shadows.


Before they know it, five armed horsemen have surrounded the wagon.


Out, page of view is Luther, the heretic Martin Luther.


I am he. Let these others go.


Dragging Luther to the ground, they place a sack over his head and tie it roughly around his neck.


Then they hoist him onto a horse. He feels a cord being tied around his wrists and then drawn tight


against the horn of the saddle. As the horse lurches beneath him, Luther hunkers forward,


gripping it with his knees. Having hemmed him in on all sides, the horses move off into the woods.


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