Christ gave the apostles only spiritual power (i.e., the command to teach the Gospel, to announce the forgiveness of sins, to administer the Sacraments, to excommunicate the godless without bodily force ‹by the Word›). He did not give them the power of the sword (the right to establish, occupy, or bestow kingdoms of the world; [Romans 13:4]). For Christ says, "Go … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). Also, "As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you" (John 20:21). It is clear that Christ was not sent to bear the sword or possess a worldly kingdom, as He Himself says, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). And Paul says, "Not that we lord it over your faith" (2 Corinthians 1:24); and "The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh" (2 Corinthians 10:4), and so forth. [A Contrast between Christ and the Pope] Christ in His passion is crowned with thorns and led forth to be ridiculed in royal purple [John 19:2]. This symbolizes that in the future, after His spiritual kingdom was despised (i.e., the Gospel was suppressed), another kingdom of a worldly kind would be set up with the appearance of churchly power. (So the Constitution of Boniface VIII and similar opinions are false and godless, for they argue that the pope is by divine right the ruler of the kingdoms of the world.) (paragraphs 31-33)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.