(From Faith Alone, daily devotions from Martin Luther)
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. (John 2:24)
No one understands how difficult it was when I first realized that I had to believe and teach an idea that was contrary to the teachings of the church fathers. This was especially shocking to me when many outstanding, reasonable, and educated people shared their views. The church fathers include many holy people, such as Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine. Despite that, my dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ must be worth more to me than all the holy people on earth--yes, even more than all the angels in heaven. When I read Augustine's books and discovered that he also had been in error, I was greatly troubled. Whenever this happens, it's very difficult for me to calm my own heart and differ with people who are so greatly respected.
But I dare not accept something just because a respected person says it. A person can be holy and God-fearing and still be in error. That's why I don't want to rely on people. As this passage says, the Lord Christ didn't rely on people either. Furthermore, in the book of Matthew, Jesus earnestly warns us to beware of false prophets, who will come and not only claim to be Christians, but also "perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible" (24:24).
Rather than trusting the church fathers and their writings, we should crawl under the wings of our mother hen, the Lord Christ, and look to him alone. The heavenly Father said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matthew 17:5). God wants us to listen to Christ alone.