The Story of Martin Luther

Part 1
Martin Luther was born to a family of miners on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany. His parents dedicated their first son to God and named him after St. Martin of Tours. St. Martin was a soldier who had converted to Christianity in fourth century France. He had brought the love of Jesus to the people and destroyed the old pagan temples. Martin started school when he was five. His teachers were Roman Catholic monks, who lived in a monastery.
Lord, we dedicate this child to Thee!

Amen!

Martin’s mother had a large family to feed.
It’s not easy having enough food to feed such a large family.

Take this to school, Martin, for your lunch.

Martin often sang in the streets to earn money to pay for his meals and his books.

Martin was a good student and learned Latin, the language in which all of the important books were written in those days, including the Bible. (The Bible was not yet translated into German.)

Deo gratias is Latin for “Thank God.”

The monks taught the children that if they wanted to go to heaven when they died, they had to pay for their sins by doing good works and praying to the saints.
To avoid God’s punishment, you must not sin.

Martin always felt like God was angry with him. Though he had learned about God, he didn’t understand that God is love (1 John 4:8).
God feels so very far away.

The only time he felt close to God was when he walked by himself through the woods.

Martin would often sing as he walked. One day while passing by a church—
When I sing, I don’t feel sad.

Everything is so beautiful. It’s as if God is everywhere! Who taught you to sing like that?

Excuse me, young man. Would you like to sing in my choir?

I just like to sing! I often earn a few coins by singing in the streets.

No one taught me, sir.

I’d be very glad to, sir!

And that’s when Martin received his first training to sing, a skill that God was going to wonderfully use later on. Martin also learned to play the flute and the lute, a stringed instrument which is similar to a guitar.

Martin was a brilliant student, and continued his education at the University of Erfurt, where he eventually studied to become a lawyer.
Martin, with your quick mind, you’ll soon know every detail of the law.

One of the greatest events of Martin’s life happened one day at the university.

Thank you, sir.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17 ESV).

Hmm, the Holy Bible. This is probably an interesting book. I think I’ll read it.

Why didn’t someone tell me before that the Bible says this?

Fascinating! I wonder if that means I can be saved, even though I’m so bad?

From then on, Martin was deeply interested in reading the Bible to learn more about God and how to please Him.

Before continuing on with advanced studies, Martin Luther went to spend a brief holiday with his parents and friends.
Ha! Ha!

You are as good with your lute as you are with your books.

My son is a fine young man. He’s a scholar. Why, even I call him “sir.” Ha, ha, ha!

Here’s to Martin! May he become one of the greatest lawyers in all of Germany!
Prost! Prost!

I’m honored

Thank you, my friends.

But God had other plans for him. During the journey back to the university:
Don’t worry, Martin, it’s just a summer storm. We’ll make it back safely.

Suddenly, lightning struck!

We must find shelter!

Franz? Franz!
Aaugh… Oh no! He’s dead! God must be angry!

I must earn forgiveness. Oh God, I promise to become a monk.

And so, Martin, afraid of death, decided to leave his family and his career, and joined the Augustinian Monastery at Erfurt.
What do you want, my son?

Life in a monastery is very hard, my son. There is little food, little sleep, many long prayers, and much hard work. Are you prepared for this type of life?

I beg your mercy and God’s mercy, Father. I want to become a monk.

Yes, Father. I’ll do all I can!

Martin thought that he could earn God’s mercy through his good works. And how hard he tried! He did everything he was told and much more.

He went without food for days at a time and lay on the cold stone floor for hours saying long prayers.

He would go begging sometimes for days on end.
Alms,2 please?

Hear me, O almighty God!

money given to help the poor
2

He spent so much time telling the monks about his sins that they didn’t want to listen anymore.
Brothers, I am a terrible sinner! I must confess.

Martin, please. Let’s not talk about it.

Many years later Martin said, “If ever a monk could get to heaven by his monkery it was I.” But the more he tried to be perfect, the more he realized what a hopeless sinner he was. It was impossible to save himself no matter what he did!

Then one day, Martin spoke from his heart to the head of the monastery.
Father, I can’t find peace in my soul. God is angry at me!

It says in the Holy Bible that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9 KJV).

It says that?!

Don’t be a fool, Brother Martin. God loves you! I think the time is right. Here is a present for you—your very own copy of the sacred Scriptures!

Hungry for the truth, Martin spent long hours reading through his Latin Bible. And one day he found a verse that stood out like a flash of light.
“The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17 ESV).

Thank you, Father John!

Hmm? I wonder if that means that faith alone can save me?

(To be continued.)

S&S link: Christian Life and Faith: Witnessing and Missionary Training: Great Men and Women of God-1b Authored by Simon Peterson, based on writings published by TFI. Illustrations by Jeremy. Design by Christia Copeland. Published by My Wonder Studio. Copyright © 2012 by The Family International