32 WEEKS BEFORE REFORMATION SUNDAY

Here is a fact that few of us know. In the fall of 1517, Martin Luder changed his name to Martin Luther. This surprising development apparently stemmed from a desire to take a surname that would reflect a new sense of purpose in his life.

The family name Luder literally meant a form of obstinacy, so Martin sought one that emphasized the direction his studies had taken him. He decided to call himself Elutherius, a Greek word for freedom or liberty. When this choice proved cumbersome, he shortened it to Luther, which still conveyed the basic meaning of the name.

Thus, on the eve of committing the great act that would shake the foundations of the medieval church, Martin chose a new name, one inspired by John 8:31-32 that boldly affirmed “the truth will set you free.” Now renamed, he was fully “free” to challenge the religious order of his day.